Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Same Sex Marriage in New York

Same Sex Marriage in New York

Same sex marriage will now be legal in New York State. That means same sex couples will be able to get marriage licenses and have “official” wedding ceremonies. Since such a law may seem to be “fair” and “equitable”, you might be asking why the Catholic Church, many evangelical Christians, and others are opposed to same sex marriage. I think it’s important to know where they are coming from, and not just label them as “homophobic” or “bigots.”

The main problem is that such laws redefine “marriage” from what natural law, the Bible, and thousands of years of tradition say it is. Since homosexuals biologically can’t reproduce with each other, then many would argue that regardless of what the law says, it isn’t a marriage as it has been understood historically.

Second, the Bible says the practice of homosexuality is a sin (notice I said “practice of”). Therefore, to call a homosexual relationship a “marriage” goes against biblical teachings as they have been traditionally understood. This condemnation of same sex relationships is not a church thing, but comes from both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament. That doesn’t mean anybody should persecute gays and lesbians, but it certainly implies that churches shouldn’t bless their unions. I know that sounds discriminatory, but since the Bible is the basis of both the Jewish and Christian faiths, we have to take seriously what Holy Scripture says.

Third, there is a fear in the religious community that refusing to perform a same sex weddings could result in discrimination lawsuits. I believe that fear is well-founded, although supposedly there are provisions in the New York law protecting churches, religious organizations, and nonprofits from such lawsuits. We’ll soon find out if that provision is strong enough.

Having said all that, I think Christians should move on to deal with the real dangers to marriage, and that is the disintegration of the family. The U.S. has a high divorce rate, and there are a record number of households headed by a single parent. People today, if they even bother to get married, don’t seem to take the vows very seriously. And then we wonder why we have to problems we have.

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