Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gay Marriage and Constitutional Bans

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I'm not one who supports amendments to the Constitution banning gay marriage. Yesterday three states passed amendments to their state constitutions banning it. Here's a quote from William Duncan on marriagedebate.com:
Voters in California, Arizona and Florida approved constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman yesterday. This is great news for marriage.

The California victory is especially important since it reversed the California Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage in May of this year. The Florida victory is significant because the amendment there needed sixty percent approval to be enacted. The Arizona victory reversed the very narrow defeat of a slightly more complicated marriage amendment in 2006.


First, I should say I'm not necessarily opposed to constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, I'm just not for them. I'm very ambivalent, but do think advocacy for and money spent to promote such bans are a complete waste.

Going back to the quote I can explain why. First, Duncan says this is great news for marriage. I really and truly fail to see how such amendments will make make marriages better. Will they lower divorce rates, increase fidelity or anything else that could be considered good news for marriage. Secondly, I don't get the personification of marriage - as if marriage is now celebrating.

More importantly, I don't see how this truly changes anything except in name. Civil unions are still protected legally and gay individuals in civil unions are still provided the same rights, essentially, as married couples. Frankly, a rose by any other name is still as sweet. I don't care if you call it a civil union or a marriage. Civil unions are marriages in all but a legal sense.

Now please, understand I'm not advocating a gay lifestyle. I think its sinful, but lets work at addressing the sin and stop quibbling over words.

Finally, I question why Christians care so much about how the state defines marriage. Will I allow the state to define for me or my kids how we should understand marriage. Until the day the state tells me I have to perform gay marriages, I just don't care if a gay couple gets hitched at a courthouse. 'Whatever' I think is the proper response.

3 comments:

seg said...

Dan,

I find this line of thinking to follow the idea that the church needs to avoid allowing itself to be trapped into thinking that political solutions are kingdom solutions (which I like and agree with) ... however; this seems to come in stark contrast with your line of thinking in handling the abortion issue. I feel like two different people posted on these two issues...?

Sarah.

Dan Waugh said...

haha, like i've said before, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

ok, really, here's the difference in my little mind. i see nowhere in scripture where I am to crusade in the larger society for morality. we should be moral people and salt and light that change society from the inside out. i do see, however, where we are called to stand up for the weak, the powerless, to care about justice, etc. in most ways, the gay marriage issue is a victimless issue. i obviously can't say the same thing about abortion.

secondly, changing the terminology from marriage back to civil union is semantics - just wording. no matter what you call it the sin remains. to change it, you'd have to outlaw homosexuality (sodomy laws i guess) and enforce it. i don't know many people who are in favor of this. on the issue of abortion, i'm not advocating action to protect a word or concept, but lives.

helpful clarification?

seg said...

Yes, the clarification helped. Thanks!

You should include that in the post...