On December 12, 2022, the “Respect for Marriage Act” was signed by President Biden. As a result, there have been numerous articles and debates surrounding the bill’s implications and true meaning.
According to Congress.gov, “The act provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.” According to the White House, this bill establishes statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages and repeals provisions of law that once prevented any State or territory from being required to give effect to a same-sex marriage from another State or territory.
As Christians, the major issue at hand that we must look at is the redefining of marriage. Marriage is not something that any government has the right to define because the government did not create marriage. Marriage was created by God. In fact, marriage dates back all the way to the time of creation.
In Gen. 2:18 it says, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” This helper would come in the form of a woman. We see that in Genesis 2:23-24: “Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
What Christians may find disturbing from the “Respect for Marriage” bill is the findings from Congress which try to redefine marriage. Instead of them using biblical language they say, “for the purposes of any Federal law, rule or regulation in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is between two individuals and is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is between two individuals and is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.” The two individuals can be made up of any two people, no matter the sex of the individuals.
The biggest issue from the Christian perspective was when this bill was first introduced it had no protections for religious liberty. Over the last several years the advancement of political ideas has begun to shift away from those we find in the Scriptures.
There is a common belief among many faith groups that these laws will eventually impact our businesses, churches and our own beliefs. What we must watch for in the upcoming days is how these shifts impact the world we live in.
Lastly, I think another major thing for Christians to consider is just how important the meaning of words is. If the Word of God defines something, that is where we must get our definition of it.
Jesus himself defined the meaning of marriage for us in Matthew 19:4-6: “He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
In an ever-changing world, one that is seeking to change the meaning of fundamental institutions like marriage, let it be known that Christians are going to hold fast to the Word of God, no matter how the culture may change.