Last week’s vote in the House of Representatives to codify same-sex marriage under federal law in the event the Supreme Court reverses its Obergefell ruling of 2015 and someday sends the definition of marriage back to the states, is an election-year ploy and a political play that ignores what social science says about the multi-millennia institution.
It’s called H.R. 8404, or the “Respect for Marriage Act,” but like many other erroneously and incorrectly worded pieces of legislation (i.e., the “Women’s Health Protection Act”), it actually diminishes, undermines and disrespects the very thing it claims to protect. Its fate in the Senate remains an open question.
Please call the Senate switchboard today and urge your senators to vote NO on H.R. 8404. The phone number is 202-224-3121.
Those who voted for this act in the House didn’t vote to protect marriage – rather they voted to protect the recent invention of same-sex marriage.
Across all of history, marriage between one man and one woman has been seen as a social good. Some have even called it the escalator to the American dream. It settles men down, empowers women and serves as the single most effective means we know by which to ward off poverty.
That’s not to say marriage is a panacea. My friend Dr. Tim Keller has said marriage is “like a riddle, a puzzle, a maze. It’s not a Hallmark card.” He’s right. Marriage is something of a mystery. It reforms us – and then transforms us.
Years ago, I had an LGBT activist who chided me, saying, “You guys (meaning Christians) haven’t done so well with marriage – why not let us have a shot at it?”
He was right to suggest Christians haven’t always revered and upheld the sanctity of Biblical marriage. Too many Christians divorce, and for many of the same reasons as non-believers. But just because we haven’t lived it perfectly is no reason to abandon marriage as an institution. Traditional marriage isn’t the problem – we are.
When Justice Anthony Kennedy voted to legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states back in 2015, he said the right to marry was “central to individual dignity and autonomy” and insisted that same-sex attracted persons were merely seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
Unfortunately, Justice Kennedy seemed to hold to a novel understanding of the word “dignity.” Where Christians and natural law theorists have always seen dignity as an inherent attribute of humanity, Kennedy treated it as synonymous with individual autonomy and the right to define oneself.
Justice Kennedy was wrong. Marriage has always been recognized as the institution that binds a man and a woman as husband and wife, to be father and mother to any children their union produces, not as a dignity-conferring domestic arrangement.
Sadly, this largely symbolic piece of legislation is an act of raw politics that completely ignores why government even cares about marriage at all.
Nearly all the social science show that the happiest people are married – and are usually married people of faith. Marriage also serves to protect children. We know children do best when raised in a home with a mother and a father. Unfortunately, same-sex marriage deliberately and unapologetically prevents a child from having either a mother or a father.
Those who warned about the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage have been vindicated. In fact, in the years since the passage of Obergefell in 2015, a virtual whirlwind of anything-goes sexual confusion has swept across America, and those who hold to the traditional definition of marriage are increasingly marginalized and punished.
We’ve gone from the widespread, commonsense acceptance of two genders to dozens, if not hundreds.
Just last week, a UC Berkley law professor accused Senator Josh Hawley of being “transphobic” because he suggested only women can get pregnant. Can anyone imagine such an exchange only just a few years ago?
As written, this bill would lead to costly lawsuits and harassment of millions of Christians, pro-family Americans and organizations like Focus on the Family who believe in one-man, one-woman marriage.
Culture will continue to swerve and many will embrace the chaos by continuing to redefine longstanding traditions. But the very best way to respect marriage is to affirm its original, time-honored definition – a loving, lifelong union between a man and a woman. Of course we demonstrate love and kindness in our opposition to those who believe differently than we do, but the most loving thing you can do – and the most effective way you can demonstrate respect for someone else – is to speak truth in love.