Ten years ago, Oklahoma voters took to the polls to approve State Question 711, then known as a marriage protection law. The question was approved by 75 percent of voters. Ten years later, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down this law, now commonly referred to as a “ban on gay marriage.”
As announced last week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of this decision, and related ones, and same-sex unions can now legally proceed apace in Oklahoma and presumably elsewhere. What a difference 10 years can make!
Responses from Christians and defenders of natural marriage were immediately heard. Southern Baptist ethics aficionado, Russell D. Moore, said the decision was momentous, but directed Christians toward a balanced response. He said, “The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back into His cemetery plot. Our model here ought to be the best aspects of the pro-life movement. Were there angry people who were anti-abortion who simply wanted the ‘wedge issue’ in order to differentiate themselves from their opponents? I’m sure there were. But the primary thrust of the movement wasn’t about culture wars, but cultural persuasion.”
Oklahoma Baptist leader, Anthony L. Jordan, said this: “It is truly a shame that the Courts of the land have gone against God’s Word, thousands of years of tradition pertaining to the meaning of marriage, as well as the will of the people in this state and others. But we are confident, in the end, God’s law remains, and we will move forward in humility and prayer toward building a positive culture of marriage.”
Each of these comments express disappointment, but confidence, and that is the way I feel as well. In some ways, this is a culturally pivotal moment that we all thought was coming. In other ways, only time will tell how many people will actually apply for these same-sex “marriages” and how these arrangements will affect others.
What we do know is that no ruling can rightly redefine something God originally designed and made. Marriage, by its very nature, is the sacred union between one man and one woman, primarily for the procreation of the human race and as the building block for the family.
We also know that marriage is a beautiful expression of the Gospel. Therefore, in these positive ways, we need to stop defending marriage and start promoting it. In other words, if we truly believe marriage is worth saving, we ought to start building a positive culture around Christian marriage and live by example. In the end, that will speak more loudly to our neighbors than any Court ruling and be more enduring than any political maneuver.