With friends and family in California, I watched the recent election battle over Proposition 8 with interest. However, we humans are complicated creatures, so I suspect that for many people (not just me) opinions and feelings about gay marriage are complicated too:
1. As a Christian, I believe that marriage is an eternal institution established by God to be between one man and one woman, and that no government can legitimately alter that. I supported Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendment and favored passage of Proposition 8 this year.
2. As an American, I believe in democracy and the supremacy of the people. In the U.S., laws are established by the people (through referendums like this one) and through the people’s elected representatives in Congress and state legislatures. The liberal activism of the California Supreme Court offends me. It is not the place of the judiciary to make laws, and it is certainly not the place of a judge to stick his or her finger in the proverbial winds of culture to decide cases. The law is the law. It is the role of judges to enforce the law, administer justice impartially, and limit interpretation of the law to those instances where the intent of the legislature is unclear from the text and where a law may violate Constitutional limitations on government power.
3. As a person with a close family member living a homosexual lifestyle, I was happy to receive word that he and his long-term domestic partner had decided to marry in San Francisco. Long ago I welcomed his partner in as part of the family, and I love my family member no less because of his lifestyle choices. I’m glad that they have chosen to take this step to further their commitment to one another.
I don’t find any contradictions in these seemingly conflicting ideas. As a complicated human being, I can hold these apparently opposing beliefs simultaneously, because they are all grounded in the Gospel of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ taught that we must abhor sin, but love the sinner. He taught that we all sin, and we all can be forgiven of our sins if we repent and come unto Him. It is through our behavior that we sin, not our feelings. We all are tempted to sin (including those that have feelings of same sex attraction) – to be tempted is not the same as sinning. We sin when we give into temptation, including homosexual sex.
I am a Christian, and I work to keep His commandments and follow His example. I believe that as the United States keeps close to the intent of our Founding Fathers, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we will prosper as a country. We are at heart a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. When we fall away from those principles as a nation, we will fail. Being a Christian nation does not mean an autocratic theocracy, but it also does not mean that we should accept the redefinition of sin into virtue.
I love my family member who is living a gay lifestyle, I could not forsake him anymore than I could cut off my right arm. He knows my beliefs and I know his, and because we love and respect one another we have a good relationship. My love for him and my happiness for his decision to marry does not change my belief that these gay marriage court decisions are undermining the foundations of our constitutional democracy and damaging our American culture. I accept the will of the people who elected Barack Obama our next President, and those protesting the approval of Proposition 8 should accept the will of the majority there too.
Apparently the large majority of voters in California still agree with my view. After all, in the year of Obamamania, gay marriage proponents had the best chance they may ever have to succeed, and they came up short.