Post Author: Bill Pratt
Tomorrow is a big day in North Carolina because we are casting votes on whether a marriage protection amendment should be added to the state constitution, something that a large number of other states have already done. I have written on marriage and gay marriage in the past, and you can go read those posts if you’d like (some of the links are found at the bottom of this post under “related posts”).
But what I want to do today is quote an email I received from my friend, Mark. It was written by pastor John Held, and I think captures many of the important points in this debate. Please take a couple of minutes to read it below, and don’t forget to vote “for” the amendment tomorrow, if you are a citizen of North Carolina.
Responding to the Opposition to the Marriage Protection Amendment
In their opposition of the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA), anti-amendment activists (strongly supported by national homosexual advocacy groups) are intentionally using the terms “anti-gay,” “discriminatory,” “bigotry,” and “harmful” to describe the Marriage Protection Amendment. This is part of a well thought-through, strategic tool designed to engender an emotional response from uninformed North Carolinians.
As outlined in their book After The Ball, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, both gay activists, explain:
In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector…[this will] lay the groundwork for the process of conversion by helping straights identify with gays and sympathize with their underdog status.
Homosexual activists have made no secret of the fact that the redefinition of marriage is number one on their social agenda. The popular accusations being made against the Marriage Protection Amendment fall into this “victim imagery” strategy.
Nothing about the Marriage Protection Amendment is anti-homosexual, and it does not represent an attack on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) individuals.
The Marriage Protection Amendment states, “that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” It is a pro-marriage amendment with the sole intention of preserving and promoting the
historic definition of marriage as a public institution that binds men and women together to create the best environment for raising children. The amendment elevates current North Carolina law to the level of a constitutional amendment to protect the definition of
marriage from being redefined by either activist judges or politicians.
It has been claimed that the Marriage Protection Amendment “writes discrimination into the state constitution…” Understandably, the term “discrimination” immediately creates in people’s minds the image of other people being unfairly excluded from something that is available to everyone else. Of course, it is true that marriage, by definition, is an exclusive institution – in the sense that it is not open to everyone who wants to get married. For example, children cannot get married, an adult cannot marry a child under a certain age, certain blood relatives cannot get married (a mother to her son, father to his daughter, brother to his sister), a man cannot marry two women, and a man cannot marry a woman who is married to someone else.
When the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman it does not prohibit any homosexual person from marrying, they would just have to marry in the same way that everyone else in society has to marry – they would have to marry someone of the opposite sex. This right is extended equally to all unmarried adults in the society.
When homosexuals claim that they want to marry another person of the same sex, they are not simply claiming the right to marry that is available to everyone else in society. They are claiming a new right that has not previously been available to anyone in this society. Such a right has been denied to everyone in the society, prior to this time; so, it is not discriminating against them to say that this kind of right is denied to them.
By way of analogy, if a man claimed that he wanted to marry his sister (or any of the examples given above), he is really claiming the right to redefine marriage according to his own desires and preferences. He is not just claiming a private right for himself, but is
claiming a right to change the definition of marriage that has been adopted by the whole society. And the law is correct when it denies him the right to do this. Therefore, restricting marriage to one man and woman does not violate anyone’s fundamental rights. In fact, what the marriage protection amendment actually does is preserve the unique and special understanding of marriage that has existed in nearly every civilization since the beginning of time from the ongoing attempts to strip marriage of its core meaning and purpose.
Christians should also recognize that the end result of the redefinition of marriage is the silencing of the Church on the biblical understanding of sex, gender, and the family. Granted, for individual churches and denominations that have either rejected the authority of Scripture or re-interpreted Scripture (abandoning grammatical-historical hermeneutical principles), so that the Bible’s clear teaching is muddled, this is not an issue – they have already capitulated to the current culture. Yet, in places where same-sex marriage has been legalized, religious freedom and free-speech (of individuals and churches that hold to traditional marriage) are under attack in the name of promoting the full acceptance of homosexuality. The Marriage Protection Amendment would help protect the ability of the church to continue to proclaim what Scripture teaches about sex, gender, and marriage, including what the Bible says about homosexual activity (and adultery and fornication and pornography and all other forms of soul-destroying sin).
The accusation that the Marriage Protection Amendment will harm children is unfounded. Even the liberal British philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex…It is of children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society.” No fact has been more convincingly established by social science literature then the fact that children are best served when reared in a home with a married mother and father. Just because other broken family forms exist (from single mothers to same-sex partners) does not mean that the marital norm for society should be redefined in order to keep the children in these families from feeling different. In a post-Genesis 3 world, not every family will reflect the marital ideal of one man and one woman provides for individuals and society at large.
The Marriage Protection Amendment is really about one thing: preserving the historic understanding of sexuality, gender, and the family in North Carolina and protecting the rights of parents (and the church) to transmit traditional values about these core issues to the next generation.