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“Waiting for the Other Shoe” — The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage

>> by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

On the last day of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today on two same-sex marriage cases. Both are important cases, and both will go far in redefining the most basic institution of human civilization. The Court knew it was making history. A majority of the justices clearly intended to make history, and future generations will indeed remember this day. But for what?

In the first decision handed down today, the Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act, passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, is unconstitutional. Specifically, it found that the federal government’s refusal to recognize a same-sex marriage that is legal in a state to be unconstitutional. The Court left in place the DOMA provision that protects states from being required to recognize a same-sex union that is valid in another state. In the Proposition 8 case, the Court’s majority held that the plaintiffs in the case, representing the people of California, lacked legal standing to appeal the lower court’s decisions that found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. In 2008, a majority of voters in California passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage in that state as the union of a man and a woman, effectively overturning a California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in that case today means that the decision of the Federal District Court stands, presumably meaning that same-sex marriage will be legal again in California. This is presumably the case, but not necessarily, because of disputed provisions in California law. Courts in that state will have to sort out those issues.

Of the two decisions handed down today, the DOMA decision is… Continue Reading>>

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  • Gary Capshaw

    Dr. Mohler ends by saying we Christian’s must think hard, and fast, about our response to these court rulings. He’s correct in that because the issue is not going away.

    So, let’s begin our thinking here: Marriage in any form is a two-sided issue. There is marriage before God and marriage before the State. They are not the same thing because each must meet a different standard. Marriage before God must be in line with the Will of God as expressed in His revealed word to mankind. Marriage before the State must be within the guidelines provided by our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    The Supreme Court must rule in accordance with the law and the Constitution. It may not, should not and dare not rule based upon any religious text, including our own Bible. The Court must adhere to the law and precedence or such a ruling would be in itself un-Constitutional.

    We believers, on the other hand, are beholden to both our Scriptures and the law. Jesus himself told us to submit to the authorities appointed over us and to be good citizens, living peaceably with the law and with one another. What that means for us is that while we may disagree with the Courts’ rulings on moral and religious grounds, we must accept those rulings and live under the new legal reality peacefully. We don’t have to like it, but we do have to accept it.

    With that as a basis, let me suggest what we ought to do about it.

    Just because same-sex marriage is now legal, or soon will be nationwide, does not mean we have to practice it. Just as with many other things which are legal but immoral, same-sex marriage need not affect us either as individuals or as a Church. Nobody is suggesting that we must marry someone of the same sex or even include same-sex marriages among our religious rituals. Until that happens, which is unlikely, we are free to hold our opinions and marry one another as we see fit. In other words, same-sex marriage will be a practice which exists outside the Church and we don’t have to bring it inside if we don’t want to. That’s true of any immoral but legal activity and, as Paul points out in I Corinthians 5:11-13, they who practice such things must answer to God, not us. We have no dog in their hunt.

    So, what we OUGHT to do in regards to these rulings is hold off on the outrage, quell the anger and get busy winning people to Christ, just as Jesus told us to do. If we really want to prevent same-sex marriage from ruining the country, we ought to make sure that it’s a rarely used right by doing whatever we can to bring more people into the Kingdom. Instead of fighting and railing against the law, we should be taking the Gospel to those people lost in darkness who would marry someone of the same sex and we ought to do it as an act of love. Instead of reviling them for their behavior and blaming them for the ills of society, we should be acting to cure the ailment with the power of the Holy Spirit. Same sex marriage would not be a problem in a country which is made up of practicing Christian’s would it?

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