What Has Changed About Marriage?

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two rulings related to the definition of marriage.

First, the court effectively struck down as unconstitutional California Proposition 8 which declared the definition of marriage to be between one man and one woman. Proposition 8 was passed by the people of California in a state-wide vote. The court basically refused to intervene in a lower court decision which held Proposition 8 unconstitutional. While this clears the way for same-sex marriage in California, the full extent of that decision is uncertain.

Second, in a decision that seems contradictory to the first, the court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. DOMA defined marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes, leaving decisions about marriage to the individual states. The law was passed by both houses of congress and signed by President Clinton.

What does this mean and what should we do?

First, states are free (for now) to define marriage for themselves. States (like Louisiana) which have made the definition of marriage part of the state constitution can continue as they have. States with some kind of definition can continue as well without having to recognize a same-sex “marriage” from another state.

Second, the court did not create a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Focus on the Family President Jim Daly said: “For most Americans, the big picture is more of what the Court did not do. It did not create a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage–as it did for abortion in 1973. It also did not declare same-sex marriage a civil right on the order of ethnicity or nationality.”

CitizenLink Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht said it this way: “At the end of the day, the Court had every opportunity to strike down state marriage laws and create a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage–and it didn’t do that. That’s definitely good news for marriage.”

Third, we should continue to be vigilant in electing local and national leaders who will seek to provide for a stable society which affirms this 4000 year old institution. The debate of marriage will continue state by state. Thirty-eight states affirm marriage as a union between one man and one woman. In his dissent to the ruling Justice Scalia noted the irony of  a “ruling” by judges which seeks to degrade an institution continuously affirmed over and over by natural law for thousands of years.

Finally, we can recommit to our own marriages. As you and I live within the biblical picture of marriage we can help influence our families and the people around us. As Jim Daly stated: “Christians will need to take their oath and commitment to marriage more seriously. Though the divorce rate among committed Christians is lower than among the general populace, it remains far too high.”

I pledge to recommit to my marriage and to fight for the biblical picture of marriage. What about you?

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10 Responses

  1. Once again, Well Said both in content and context, (for now).

    The reaction of Clinton and Obama, et al gives insight to the trend.

    I couldn’t agree more about the proper reaction being to live an exemplary life style becoming of a Christian. Now I will speak about a broad view across denominations: “Have Joy and have it more abundantly” is a part of the light that is missing from the outside looking in to many of our “Christian” gatherings, organizations, marriages, etc. It is not that it is not there. I certainly have found it at some of the senior activities I have attended at various church. It just seems to be a well kept secret.

    This is why “World Changers” and so many out reaching and community inclusive activities of First Baptist Church Covington are so important. The Godly tone set puts His Light on a hill. It is why my Mother-in-law, wife, children and grandchildren are under your care. It is a focus that sets First Baptist Covington apart.

    Thank You Sir.


  2. Today my husband and I celebrate 32 wonderful years of marriage. What a great day to recommit to each other in an institution that has been around for so long and means so much to so many!

    1. It’s important for us to have a clear understanding of what has happened. During the next few days, we will start getting even a clearer picture of all this.

  3. The aggressiveness of the homosexual activists reminds me of the aggressiveness of the men of Sodom in their attempt to get to the men [angels] in Lot’s house [Gn 19]. It’s as if they felt they had a “right” to invade Lot’s very home to get to the men they lusted after.
    I pray for wisdom, compassion and Truth to prevail in this very troublesome current of our culture.
    Thanks Waylon for keeping us abreast of the issues.

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