Four States face decisions
On November 6th, voters in four States (Maine, Washington State, Maryland and Minnesota) will have the opportunity to affirm or reject changes to the definition of marriage. All previous efforts (in other states) to redefine marriage to include gay marriage have been rejected by referendum.
Gay marriage is legal in six states and the nation’s capital. Thirty states have added amendments to their constitutions defining marriage as between and man and a woman. Advocates for gay marriage are hoping for a historic shift on Election Day by getting a majority in at least one state.
Maryland voters will be given the opportunity to decide whether or not to support the unilateral efforts of Governor Martin O’Malley to change the definition of marriage for the entire state of Maryland.
On March 1, 2012, the governor signed into law a bill supporting the legalization of civil marriage for same-sex couples. But some legislators insisted that the bill go to referendum because they did not believe that the law accurately represented the views of the citizens of Maryland. Sen. Nancy Jacobs said, “… this deserves to go to the people, and I’m sure it will.”
Some of the opponents of the bill argued that the law involves more than allowance for same-sex marriage because it entails a significant redefinition of marriage. They believe that it will lead to many societal conflicts, with particular concern on whether school children will be indoctrinated with gay marriage propaganda. Gay activists have consistently focused efforts on using school curriculum to promote their lifestyle.
Although efforts were made to deny these possibilities, it’s widely known that the Obama department of education aggressively supports gay affirming indoctrination under the guise of promoting diversity and school safety. On October 25th, President Obama’s campaign released a statement in support of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.
For the law to go to referendum, legislators had to submit at least 55,736 valid signatures. By May 30th, 113,505 signatures were turned in to the Secretary of State. On July 10th, the Maryland Board of Elections certified the measure after verifying 109,313 of the signatures.
The referendum, (known as Question 6), will allow voters to decide whether the Maryland law framed as the “Civil Marriage Protection Act”should be upheld.
The Act “establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”
The trend among gay activists is to use judicial coercion to force a different version of marriage on each state. But wherever these laws have been challenged by referendum the majority of citizens have consistently rejected changes to the definition of marriage to include gay marriage. This is why it wasn’t a surprise that Julie Mertus, a professor from the American University, opposed the referendum arguing that allowing civil rights legislation to be put to a vote creates a “tyranny of the majority.”
The Maryland version of gay rights law provides more explicit legal protections for religious leaders and institutions if they refuse to officiate or provide facilities for same-sex marriages. Yet it strikes one as disingenuous to allow clergy to refuse to honor a civil rights law while insisting (as do many activists) that defending those who desire gay sex is equivalent to historic civil rights battles for race and gender.
Should we allow clergy to deny someone marriage or use of religious facilities based on race? Never! It’s more likely that the religious compromise in Question 6 is a foot-in-the-door effort toward the real goal of forcing all of society to affirm the false comparison of sexual preference with race and gender.
Doesn’t it strike you as a bit strange to say, “Let’s give a civil right to this group but allow people to refuse to honor it.” I am no expert in civil rights law but this kind of thing seems inevitably problematic. Gay activists would not likely be interested in compromise unless it leads to unequivocal endorsement. The widespread insistence on the race/gender comparison with gay sex logically speaks against compromises.
While I am not in favor of forcing consenting adults to conform to the sexual standards of my faith, I am equally opposed to the campaign to force a different version of marriage on the country. Obviously, those who want gay marriage should be free to make a case for why they want the same rights that come with heterosexual marriage. Yet they should also respectfully acknowledge that (to accommodate their sexual preferences), they’re asking the majority of Americans for significant changes to the way things have been for centuries.
I am not suggesting that history trumps all arguments, but it’s no small matter to demand a radical change of the institution of marriage from the Creator’s design for male and female. The burden of defense is on those asking for the change. They must make a very good case for why it’s in the best interest of society to expand the definition of marriage for 2-3 percent of society. And those making this request must not disrespect other voices at the table. Labeling opponents as hateful and homophobic is childish and manipulative behavior. Portraying opponents as some sort of dumb rednecks is posturing. Resorting to ad hominem leaves one feeling like there really isn’t a good argument to be made.
As I have tried to listen to the case for gay marriage, I’ve found the main arguments difficult to validate. I don’t accept the notion that homosexuality is an unalterable condition of birth. This argument is without scientific evidence, and contradicts the testimony of many who have left the homosexual lifestyle.
A better case can be made to treat sexuality of any kind as a choice. When resolving ethical and legal questions about expressions of sexuality, individual choice must be a primary consideration. A society that condemns some forms of sexual conduct as illegal must treat sexuality in general in a context of human choosing — not as a predetermined condition.
What should be said to those who (on principle) left a homosexual lifestyle? If these individuals have chosen to see their former way of life as wrong and immoral (as many have), how should they articulate their choice? Should society respect their decision? Are they free to oppose homosexual behavior?
The question we need to ask is whether we’re prepared to make sexual behaviors matters of civil rights law? In this Country, those who prefer homosexual behavior are free as consenting adults to engage in it. If they are treated with violence for exercising their freedom, the same laws that protect others should be applied to protect them. Special laws are not needed.
If discrimination laws are extended to one’s desire for gay sex, will civil rights status be open to other sexual lifestyles? Discrimination that violates civil rights (regarding race and gender) injures people for what they are by nature not for the sex they desire or some other behavior they choose. It’s also a false comparison to equate gay lifestyle issues with protections from religious discrimination.
Like most pastors, I invest large amounts of time in preventative, interventional and restorative efforts to build strong marriages. A radical redefinition of the institution of marriage and family will not improve the current marriage scene. Homosexual relationships are notoriously troubled — often involving abuse and pervasive sexual unfaithfulness.
Jesus Christ made His view of marriage clear when he validated the words that have been the foundation for marriage since the beginning of our nation: “…at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’” (Matthew 19:4-5).