What is the Biblical Response to Gay Marriage?

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In light of the recent Supreme Court case, I felt it necessary to write up a post explaining my position on same-sex marriage.  As a minister whose job and calling is to teach Youth to be followers of Jesus and to encourage them to live according to the Bible’s moral law, I don’t have the luxury of just ignoring the issue.

I do not believe gay marriage is compatible with Biblical Christianity.  The Bible, in both Old and New Testaments is extremely clear that homosexuality is sin.  I don’t particularly like to proof-text, but will in this case.  I will quote from the book of Romans, which systematically lays out several fundamental doctrines of Christianity.  I use the English Standard Version.  

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  Romans 1:24-27 ESV

To set up the context of this passage, Paul, the author of Romans, isn’t only talking about homosexuality.  Paul in the text before this quotation and after this quotation is talking about the total depravity of mankind.  To quote Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”  This verse says that we, as sinful human beings, repress God’s standards of morality because, frankly, we want to live in a way that is right in our own eyes.  How many times have you said or heard someone say: “if it’s right for me then it is ok” or “loving someone is all that matters”?  This type of thinking is rooted in a will that does not desire to obey God.  This is a spirit of unrighteousness that all men are born with.

We are ALL sinners before a Holy God.

Romans 3:23 ESV “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  

That is everybody. You. Me. The Pope. The homosexual. The crook. Your neighbor.  None of us measure up to God’s moral law.  Just to be clear, the only standard that really matters is God’s.  He is the one that says he will judge each and everyone of us according to our deeds (Jer. 17:10).  Since we have all broken God’s moral law, we all “fall short,” meaning we all stand guilty and condemned as sinners before God’s throne.  But God sent Jesus to change our fate:

24 and [we] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  – Romans 3:24-26 ESV

It is through Jesus, that all sinners (ie EVERYBODY) find forgiveness for sin.  Not because of my personal goodness but because I recognize my sin, my guilt, my inability to save myself,  and I therefore place my faith and my hope in the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers.  I acknowledge my sin before a Holy God and beg for His Mercy, the Mercy found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

So if we are all sinners, what’s my problem with homosexual marriage?

To phrase this another way:  I sin. I commit a multitude of sins everyday.  Sometimes, I commit these sins publicly and sometimes privately.  Yet I am stating outright that homosexuality is not acceptable in the eyes of God.  Am I saying that my sins are OK and your sins are not?  No, I am drawing a distinction between repentant and unrepentant sin.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that it is one thing to sin and say, “OK God, I messed up I’m wrong, forgive me, I’ll do my best not to commit this sin again.”  It is entirely different thing to say, “OK God, according to your Word, homosexuality is a sin, but I know you love me and just want me to be happy so Fred and I are going to live together in a homosexual relationship.”  Therefore, a homosexual who is unrepentant (sees nothing wrong with his sinful behavior) does not experience Christ’s forgiveness for that sin because Christ’s forgiveness follows repentance.

This is America, I have the Freedom/Liberty to Live Anyway I Choose!

Yes, you do.  I honestly respect the freedom of homosexuals to live the way they choose without fear of persecution or legal penalties, and the freedom to live the lifestyle of your choosing.  And I expect you to respect my freedom to say  what the Bible teaches about homosexuality–that it is sin, like any other sin.  This is America; you and I both have the right to live how we choose, and when we die, we will both stand before the throne of God and give an account.  He is the Judge; he sets the standard.

What’s my problem with legalizing Gay Marriage?

First, I don’t think it is right and we live in a Democracy.  When it came up for a vote in the state of Texas, I voted my beliefs, same as you.  In several states, gay marriage has been legalized; do I think it is right? No.  But gay marriage is legal and protected in those states.  The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case on California’s “Proposition 8.”  This was a constitutional amendment that was voted on by the people of California; the People voted into law that Marriage is between one man and one woman.  Now the gay rights community wants the will of the People overruled by 9 men and women.  While I don’t agree with gay marriage, if the vote had passed the other way in California, it would have been the will of the people, and the Supreme Court should not overrule that.

To clarify, there are instances that the Supreme Court would be correct in overruling a State’s Rights (think-segregation).  A homosexual’s rights are not being infringed by gay marriage being outlawed.  Civil Unions already grant homosexuals many of the same rights as married couples.  It would be illegal for McDonald’s to put a sign on their door stating “No Gay People Allowed.”   This is not the issue.  The issue is the gay rights community is trying to redefine the oldest of all human institutions, Marriage.  Homosexuals have the right to live together and have legal protection of their way of life under the law, but you do not have the right to redefine what the word “Marriage” means.

I’ll give a frivolous example:  Take a look at a vegetarians.  A vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat.  Many will eat meat substitutes like soy bacon.  If I decide that I want to be a vegetarian, but, personally, soy bacon is gross, so I make an exception and eat bacon, does that make me a vegetarian or not?  It doesn’t, and many true vegetarians would be offended by my calling myself a vegetarian and still eating meat.  I feel the same way about marriage.

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