Homosexual advocates continue to make gains in their efforts to legalize same-sex relationships. President Obama has decided not to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court. DOMA is the 1996 federal law signed by President Clinton that allows states to refuse to legally recognize same-sex marriage, including those marriages performed in other states. Without a federal DOMA, the “full faith and credit” clause of the United States Constitution would require every state to legally recognize gay marriages performed in another state.
Currently, at least thirty-seven states have enacted state DOMAs. Meanwhile, five states (Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont) and the District of Columbia have already legalized gay marriage. If the federal DOMA is repealed or declared unconstitutional, marriages performed in those states would become legal in all fifty states. Even the thirty states that have already enacted constitutional amendments banning gay marriage are subject to federal legal challenges under the “full faith and credit” or “equal protection” clauses. Only a Federal Marriage Amendment can ultimately resolve this legal quagmire.
In addition to states that recognize same-sex marriage, several other states (California, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, and Washington) recognize some form of same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships that confer on these couples at least some of the 1,000 rights and benefits that have previously been reserved to protect and encourage traditional marriage and family in America. These rights address issues like financial matters, family and medical leave options, and survivor benefits.
Poll Results Moving
Countless polls have repeatedly found that the majority of Americans want to protect a traditional view of marriage being between a man and a woman, which has been a stabilizing and foundational force in society for centuries. The consequences of ignoring traditional marriage privileges result in a myriad of social as well as religious liberty problems.
At the same time, Christians may be losing this battle for ideas. For instance, at least one recent poll shows that 52% of Americans now want to confer the benefits and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, either under the name of marriage or as civil unions or domestic partnerships. The politically correct propaganda of the homosexual movement, which is being promoted particularly to young people in entertainment and in public schools, is working.
The legalization of gay marriage, and even of civil unions or domestic partnerships, has serious consequences for Bible-believing Christians. Legalizing gay relationships affects not merely the same- sex couple; it also affects every aspect of American life and makes it impossible for Bible-believing Christians to fully function in society.
For example, a court in England recently decided that a couple involved for many years with foster parenting could no longer continue because their faith did not permit them to instruct their foster children that gay marriage is a normal union. The court was far more interested in protecting the “rights” of a very small homosexual minority community in England than in protecting the rights of its Christian citizens to practice their faith. If we are not careful, that same thing will happen in America. In fact, it is already beginning to happen.
Some Important Questions
We are already seeing the discriminatory effects of gay marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships on Bible-believing Christians.
- Government clerks who oppose gay marriage or civil unions have become legitimately concerned about being required to abandon their religious beliefs and issue marriage licenses or registry entries to same-sex couples. Will Christians no longer be permitted to work in these government clerk positions?
- Private business owners have become concerned that they could be sued for discrimination if their faith does not permit them to provide certain services to homosexuals such as wedding photographs and banquet facilities. Will these professions become off limits for Christians?
- Christian landlords are concerned about being required to rent property to same-sex couples in violation of their own religious beliefs. Will Christians no longer be able to function as landlords?
- Parents of children in public schools are concerned that their children are being brainwashed to approve of relationships that God calls sin and to consider them as “normal.” Are Christian parents losing their right to inculcate their own moral values and religious beliefs to their children?
- Ministries and counseling services that assist homosexuals to overcome their sexual bondage are being told that attempting to do so is illegal. Some professionals have already lost their jobs or licenses for assisting homosexuals to overcome their bondage, even though the patient was unhappy and seeking help. Will the government now ban Christian ministries and counseling services for homosexuals to become free?
- Will courts ultimately determine that “equal protection” requirements of the Constitution require homosexual relationships to be legally protected in the same way as traditional marriage? Will polygamous relationships become the next constitutionally protected relationship in America? The same question could be posed with regard to opposite-sex couples who merely cohabit without the benefit of marriage—something else the Bible calls sin that Christians may be required to approve in the future.
- Is it a good idea in a time of budget shortfalls and ballooning government debt to add a whole new category of people (specifically, homosexual, or domestic partners) for which the state must now provide financial benefits? Governments are already looking to churches to make up their current budgetary shortfalls.
Our Nation’s Future
The Bible is clear that God cannot bless a nation that both permits and approves sexual perversions. Centuries of history show us that societies need a foundation in traditional marriage and family in order to survive. The promotion and acceptance of sexual perversions and legalized relationships outside traditional marriage and family require the government to become more and more involved financially in functions that should be performed by the traditional family unit.
This issue goes far beyond the protection of a small minority that wants society’s approval to practice an ungodly lifestyle. It negatively affects all Christians who seek to live out their biblical standards in every aspect of their lives. This is, unfortunately, one area of constitutional rights where one side cannot win without the other side losing. Will the victors in America be the homosexual minority or the biblical Christian majority? We do not have much time left to determine which direction our nation will take.
As Bible-believing Christians, it is our privilege and responsibility to stand in the gap for our nation. Be sure to do your part to make a difference. Pray for revival in our land, remain involved in your local church, and spread the Gospel to the lost. It is our prayer that God will continue to bless America as we seek to honor Him.
This article was originally published as a legal alert from Christian Law Association.