God on Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage as a Civil Right — Are Wrongs Rights?


Al Mohler Wednesday,April 24, 2013


We should have seen it coming. Back in 1989 two young activistspushing for the normalization of homosexuality coauthored a book intended toserve as a political strategy manual and public relations guide for theirmovement. In After the Ball: HowAmerica Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, authorsMarshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen argued that efforts to normalize homosexualityand homosexual relationships would fail unless their movement shifted itsargument to a demand for civil rights, rather than for moral acceptance.Kirk and Madsen argued that homosexual activists and their allies should avoidtalking about sex and sexuality. Instead, “the imagery of sex per se should bedownplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as far as possible, to anabstract social question.”

Beyond Kirk and Madsen and their public relationsstrategy, an even more effective legal strategy was developed along the samelines. Legal theorists and litigators began to argue that homosexuals werea class of citizens denied basic civil liberties, and that the courts shoulddeclare them to be a protected class, using civil rights precedents to force amoral and legal revolution.

That revolution has happened, and it has been stunninglysuccessful. The advocates for the normalization of homosexuality and thelegalization of same-sex marriage have used legal arguments developed from thecivil rights era to their advantage. Arguments used to end the scourge ofracial segregation were deployed to normalize homosexuality and homosexualrelationships. Over the years, these arguments have led to such majordevelopments as the decriminalization of homosexual behaviors, the inclusion ofhomosexuals within the United States military, and the legalization of same-sexmarriage in some states.

When Rights are Right

What should Christians think about this? We do believe in civilrights. Taken at face value, civil rights are those rights that a person shouldbe recognized to possess simply because he or she is a citizen. Christiansshould welcome the recognition of civil rights, understanding that the verynotion of such rights is based on a Christian worldview and the affirmationthat every human being is made in God’s image, and therefore possesses dignityand certain essential rights. In the language of the Declaration ofIndependence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men arecreated equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienableRights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Even as secularists do their best to establish somegrounding for civil rights without reference to God, the founding language ofour nation—in agreement with biblical principles—clearly affirms that theseliberties are given to all people by the Creator.

Beyond this fact, we must be thankful that an expandingunderstanding of civil rights has led our nation to address wrongs and to makemoral progress in ending wrongful discrimination. The civil rights movement ofthe late twentieth century saw America come face to face with the reality that,as a nation, we were not living up to our own commitment to those rights.

The key question we now face is this: Does recognition ofcivil rights for all people require the normalization of homosexuality and thelegalization of same-sex marriage?

That is precisely what gay rights proponents have beenclaiming for the past thirty years, and their arguments have gained muchground. In 2003 the Supreme Court struck down criminal laws against homosexualbehavior in the decision known as Lawrence v. Texas. Writing for the majority, JusticeAnthony Kennedy argued that the Constitution does not allow for thecriminalization of homosexual acts, since such laws would deny a specific classof persons their basic civil rights. A series of similar court decisions hasfollowed, with several courts ruling that outlawing same-sex marriage is asimilar denial of a civil right.

When Rights Are Wrong

At this point Christians have to think very carefully. We do notwant to deny anyone his or her civil rights. To do so would not only violatethe Constitution but also deny the rights that are granted, not by thegovernment, but by the Creator. But is same-sex marriage such a right? Theanswer to that question must be no.

Marriage laws always discriminate. Current lawsdiscriminate on the basis of age, marital status, and gender, as well as a hostof other issues. The law itself necessarily discriminates. For instance,married people pay fewer taxes and women enjoy maternity leave. The question iswhether such discrimination is right or wrong.

Discrimination on the basis of an unchangeablecharacteristic such as skin color would be wrong. But Christians cannot acceptthe argument that homosexuality is an immutable characteristic. Whilerecognizing the complexity of issues related to sexual orientation, we cannotdefine a behavior as an intrinsic characteristic. On that basis, why notgrant theft or other sinful behavior the same civil rights protection?

Furthermore, we recognize that marriage, like humanrights, exists prior to the law. Christians understand that marriage wasinstituted by the Creator, who designed marriage and the family as thefoundational social unit of human society. Marriage unites a man and awoman in a holy covenant that should last as long as they both live.

From the very beginning, marriage was designed as theunion of one man and one woman. Every human society has recognized this meaningof marriage, and all successful civil societies have honored, protected, anddefended heterosexual marriage as the union that should govern human sexuality,reproduction, intimacy, and rearing of children.

Those pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriagehave been tremendously successful in convincing many people—and severalcourts—of their argument that same-sex marriage is a civil right. But this is aconfusion of categories that Christians cannot accept.

1) The argument for the legalization of same-sex marriagefails in terms of any constitutional logic that our nation’s founders wouldhave conceived. 2) Beyond this, faithful Christians cannot accept sucharguments because an even greater authority—the authority of the Bible as theWord of God—binds us.

The Bible is clear in terms ofits teachings on both sexuality and marriage. As Jesus Christ declared, God intended marriage as theunion of one man and one woman “from the beginning” (Matthew 19:4–6). The legalization ofsame-sex marriage would confuse and greatly weaken the single institution thatis most central to human society and most essential to human flourishing.

Christians responding to demands for the legalization ofsame-sex marriage cannot accept the argument that the right to marry a personof the same gender is a civil right.

We are living in an era of moral revolution and seismiccultural change. Christians must remember that our ultimate authority is theWord of God. We are thankful for the recognition of civil rights, but we alsounderstand that these rights will be confused in a sinful world. We mustunderstand that the claim that same-sex marriage is a civil right reveals morethan constitutional confusion—it reveals the need of every human being fornothing less than the forgiveness, healing, and redemption that can come onlythrough faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

At the end of the day, the argument over same-sexmarriage is never just about same-sex marriage, and debates about civil rightsare never just about civil rights. Deeper truths and worldview implications arealways at stake, and it is our responsibility to make certain that we know whatthose are and stand humbly and compassionately for those truths, regardless ofthe cost.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me atmail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler

This article originallyappeared in the April-June issue ofAnswers, published by Answers inGenesis. View here:http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v8/n2/gay-marriage-civil-rights



Historic Biblical Orthodox View

Historically the orthodox view of Christianity is that marriage was ordained by God at the Creation of humans. God defined marriage between a man and a woman. The following video clip presents this view.

Video clip located link below:

God on Marriage