A friend asked a good question about gay marriage on my post from yesterday. She worded the question this way:
“…. my question to Christians opposing gay marriage is: Are you AGAINST gay marriage or PRO traditional marriage? Most Christians would probably agree that they are against gay marriage BECAUSE they are pro traditional marriage. Since the backbone to our war against gay marriage is a desire to protect traditional marriage, shouldn’t we be putting equal effort towards the assaults against traditional marriage that have become socially acceptable within the church (divorce, failure to honor your husband or cherish your wife, etc.)?”
The point you’re making (the validity of which I’ll come back to in a moment) is one I list as part of a strategy to silence opponents of gay marriage. I fully realize that you do not raise it with that purpose but within the militant expressions of the gay community attention is often drawn to marriage as a failing institution among heterosexuals. This is partly done to make Christians appear to be hypocritical for opposing gay marriage when they have their own marriage crisis. It’s not made as a sincere concern for the institution of marriage (as I hear from you) but as an effort to silence opposition to gay marriage. It also carries a bit of the assumption that gay marriage might actually improve the marriage scene — a very misguided notion indeed. Gay relationships are more promiscuous and violent. This is a little known fact because you’ll never hear mainstream media do a story about it.
In a study from 2004, “the dissolution rate of homosexual couples was more than three times that of heterosexual married couples, and the dissolution rate of lesbian couples was more than four-fold that of heterosexual married couples” (JMF). According to the National Institute of Justice: “Same-sex cohabitants reported significantly more intimate partner violence than did opposite-sex cohabitants– 39% of lesbian cohabitants reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by a cohabitating partner at some time in their lifetimes, compared to 21% of heterosexual women. Among men, the comparable figures are 23.1% and 7.4%” (July, 2000).
Those in the gay community know full well the painful truth of these statistics. And this goes to the heart of my pastoral concern about the gay marriage debate. Opposing gay marriage is not about hating people who desperately want to love. This is a manipulative diversion. It’s about helping people be free from lifestyles that are harmful. Sadly, it must be acknowledged that many in the homosexual lifestyle came from horrible heterosexual homes where hate was more prominent than love. I grieve to see all of this but must choose to look beyond the masks that cover the pain. This is my duty as a human and even more so as a pastor.
Now, yes, there is a marriage crisis in our nation. And while I speak out on the subject of gay marriage, I invest far, far, far more time in preventative, maintenance and interventional work for traditional marriage. Not only so, but our staff invests many hours helping troubled marriages each week (often daily). I’ve made preventative work (as you know) a priority (20 years of teaching my marriage class) and prevention efforts usually suffer under the stress of interventional work. So, on the one hand, it’s not an either/or but, on the other hand, helping traditional marriages has always been the priority by a long shot.
Finally, I speak to matters of moral concern only as a sinner who needs the grace and forgiveness of God as much as, and in some cases, even more, than others. We have all been sexual deviants—if only in our thoughts. We all need God’s grace and forgiveness. We are all continuously capable of being tempted toward deviant sexual behavior. Life is a battle and I am just one more person trying to live for God like many others. I know more than ever how much I need a redeemer and mediator and advocate with God and Jesus Christ is the one I trust as my savior.