October 31, 2012
SAME-SEX “marriage” has never been approved by voters in any state, but will be on the ballot in four states next week: Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota. Unsurprisingly, the New York Times does not believe the issue should be submitted to the electorate at all. An editorial in today’s paper openly objects to democratic processes. The editorial states:
The freedom to marry is a fundamental right that should not have to be won or defended at the ballot box. In fact, ballot initiatives are a bad way to write or rewrite laws of any kind. Unfortunately, that is the reality of American politics, which is why same-sex marriage measures on the Nov. 6 ballot in Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota could turn out to be pivotal in the struggle for marriage equality.
“Unfortunately, that is the reality of American politics.” Has distaste for the people ever been more baldly stated? The electorate with its alien, bigoted ways, hesitant to go where no society has gone before, cannot be trusted.
“Freedom,” according to the Times, does not include freedom for all. Freedom never can be all-embracing of course, but the way liberals use the term implies that it can. And because Americans become intoxicated at the mere mention of the words “freedom” and “equality,” this language is highly effective. However, the Times does not believe in pure freedom and pure equality. Voters, in this case, are not entitled to the freedom to determine the cultural setting in which they live. “Equality” does not mean the equality of all desires. The desire to live in a world in which marriage is the basis of procreation is not equal to the desire to live in a world in which the institution is redefined. The Times has set the stage for the liberal response if voters decline this revolutionary program. The results will be illegitimate.
I would agree, by the way, that the issue is too basic to submit to voters. But it is too basic to submit to judges too.
—– Comments —–
Terry Morris writes:
State licensing – errrrgh.
My wife and I have a 26-year-old state-issued marriage licence. We’ve been seriously contemplating annulling it, and taking our vows again ecclesiastically. I think she knows by now that I’m not going anywhere, and we both agree, and affirm before God, that our marriage involves us and Him, and has nothing to do with the State.
But I don’t see how that is a viable solution for society at large.
Mr. Morris writes:
It isn’t a viable solution for society at large. At best it’s a solution for the church. But since society is heading in one direction and I’m heading in the exact opposite direction, why should I concern myself with a solution for them?
I don’t know exactly what it (society) is thinking, but I do know what I am thinking, and what I am thinking is this – I didn’t give up on society until it showed me in very clear terms that it had given up on me.
I understand and sympathize with this movement of civil resistance, in which couples decline a state marriage license. I sympathize with it not only because of same-sex unions but because of the State’s current role in divorce. I wrote about it previously here:
In short, the State’s role in marriages is tyrannical, forcing couples to participate in an institution that strips them of their property and civil rights in the event of divorce and that may no longer resemble traditional marriage in the most fundamental way. The State is a third party in marriage and it views the marriage contract essentially as a commercial transaction between individuals. Given that marriage has long been defined by the State as a commercial agreement, it makes sense that no one should be excluded from forming such a bond in a way that alters its non-commercial aspects. Two pieces, here and here, explore the idea of couples declining to obtain civil marriage licenses as an act of resistance and self-protection. In the American colonies, no one was required to obtain a state marriage license. This is a return to our historic roots.
However, it is not a workable model absent church authority that has the power to enforce contracts.
If we can’t have proper marriage, we should destroy it. You don’t see how that is a valid social option? George Washington didn’t have a marriage license. The state started regulating marriage, and then divorce, and look how well that worked out. I agree. Let’s start a free marriage movement.
I would like to think that’s possible. But it is more complicated than it appears.
Hurricane Betsy writes:
I could never quite understand the opposition to state-sanctioned marriage. First of all, you aren’t prevented from having a church or some type of religious ceremony. Second – right or wrong, good or bad – the state oversees the division of property and (more or less) the welfare of children. And this is done through legal marriage. Though I’m not always a fan of the state (hardly ever, actually), I am not bothered by having been through the legal ceremony and signed the documents.
Libertarians say that two persons wishing to be “married” can just make up a private contract, thereby abolishing the necessity of state involvement. That’s laughable: who do they think is in charge of “contracts”? Where does the contract (of any sort) get its power? Who oversees the enforcement of that contract if one of the parties is balking? Yes, the almighty State. I don’t know enough of the Law to know if all and any provisions of private contracts can be overriden by the state. I can foresee more and more wrangling in divorce courts. I’d like to see further discussion of this topic.
The opposition to marriage laws by an atheistic, immoral State such as ours is understandable.
In the previous post on this issue, there are links to articles elsewhere.
Where is the discussion of religious freedom on this issue of same-sex “marriage”? I’m fine with others living how they like even though its morally reprehensible. I’m not fine with the government forcing my elementary age children to learn in school that homosexual marriage is morally equivalent to heterosexual marriage.
I’m not fine with the government forcing religious institutions to give children to homosexuals who want to adopt.
The laws promoting gay marriage infringe on our constituional religious freedom in unacceptable ways.
When freedom of religion is reduced to the freedom to go to the church of one’s choice or to hold beliefs in private, it is trivial and meaningless.
Kevin M. writes:
Laura wrote: “But I don’t see how that is a viable solution for society at large.”
Please expound upon that. As an atheist, I am fascinated with the Christian perception of marriage, and find it the only meaningful conception of the union of male and female. What is afforded by the state is, seriously, repulsive to me.
There needs to be some form of authority regarding marriage so that when, say, a spouse runs away with the children, the rights of the other spouse are protected. That authority needn’t be governmental.
I have been socializing with an openly homosexual county cop for more than a year. He is one of a group of a dozen or so regular cigar smokers who frequent the same two smoking venues. I like him. He’s a great guy in every way that I can see, except that he’s a homosexual. He’s apparently a good cop who is well respected by his peers. He says that he had always wanted to be a cop, from a very early age. He’s dedicated and is one of small number of special weapons qualified in his district.
He has never crossed the line with anyone in this circle of cigar smokers. The wives and girl friends love him. It’s his group of friends that I have entered.
There is a ballot initiative in Maryland that effects his Police Chief’s ability to manage his department. He’s asked us to vote NO. He’s said nothing, to my knowledge, in a serious way about the same-sex marriage ballot initiative. A while back he joked that he didn’t care, because he doesn’t want a “wife.”
But, the issue is there. It will not be openly discussed. I’ve heard “I don’t care who gets married”, said by a couple of guys, but that’s the end of it. This is the overwhelming power that modern liberalism wields over us, over me. I speculate that most of these guys could care less who marries who. I speculate that many of them have given no serious thought to what it means.
This whole experience is quite educational. I see what guys of my generation (age fifty to sixty-five) are mindlessly accepting, or like me, are dishonestly tolerating out of convenience; and what guys of my son’s generation (early to late twenties) have long ago casually and unquestioningly accepted.
If the marriage ballot question were to come up with my homosexual cop acquaintance present, I would not challenge it or him. There would be humor and laughter, but there would be no serious discussion. I’m not there for any other reason than to relax with a good cigar and have some laughs. I’m a hypocrite. If I was to engage them, or them and him in a discussion about the perversion of marriage, I would open a social chasm that I probably could not close. I should do it, but I won’t. I can’t change a thing on my own so I won’t make the personal sacrifice.
I will vote against same-sex marriage, but I won’t challenge a group of people with whom I seek occasional refuge and common ground on other issues. It’s probably a fragile camaraderie. But, it’s convenient and close to home. So, rather than risk losing the only convenient places left to smoke a cigar in public, I wear the mask of a modern liberal. But, if I keep wearing it, is it really just a mask?
I’m sure your policeman friend has good qualities, even exceptionally good qualities, but he is essentially demanding that others approve of his behavior. It’s like an alcoholic asking others to cheer him on, or at least say nothing, as he drinks himself to death.
Jeremy Morris writes:
Laura wrote: “There needs to be some form of authority regarding marriage so that when, say, a spouse runs away with the children, the rights of the other spouse are protected. That authority needn’t be governmental.”
An ecclesiastical marriage contract demands prudent consideration before the two parties are compelled to make an oath before God. The lack of governmental authority as a “safe guard” is the most compelling of its attributes. Simply because it promotes self government, and true faith in God.
If I know that I do not have government “no-fault divorce” to “protect” me from poor judgment. Then ultimately I must take all responsibility upon myself in the selection of a helpmate, and trust that God will guide me. The terms and implications of an ecclesiastical marriage contract must be discussed thoroughly between the two parties; if one objects he is simply unworthy. Why would I choose to compromise my principles with someone who doesn’t hold God’s model of self government as paramount in their daily life? This form of marriage already exists as it has since God created man and woman in the beginning. It has nothing to do with a solution for society as a whole simply because it is already there for society and they reject it, due to the desire to be “protected” from the consequences of their own actions. The best and only way I see to influence society on the whole is to choose God’s plan for marriage, and live according to his design. If done correctly your children and grandchildren will influence society over the long term which is the only way it can be done.
As for the authority to enforce an ecclesiastical marriage contract, that ultimately is left to God as it should be. The family being the instrument God most often uses to facilitate his administration of the marriage contract.
I understand that an ecclesiastical vow is primary and more important than any civil contract. I also understand that the civil contract today actually encourages marriage breakdown. However, I have a hard time grasping this idea of leaving the marriage contract entirely up to God to enforce, without any ecclesiastical or civil authority to enforce it. Why not do the same with all contracts, or at least some other contracts, between Christians? Why involve the government or Church? Why not leave the punishment of criminals up to God?
Why would I choose to compromise my principles with someone who doesn’t hold God’s model of self government as paramount in their daily life?
I guess because one doesn’t know that she will always observe God’s model of self-government and because children are involved.
Terry Morris responds to Laura:
But my children are already exposed to it everywhere. I mean, for goodness’ sake, I can’t even turn on the TV or the radio, or take them to the zoo, or to a carnival, or to the movies for that matter, without their being exposed to it. You’re arguing that they’ll be exposed to it more?
Well, they could be exposed to it more if, say, the legal concepts of mother and father are abolished. But you’re right. It’s bad as it is.
Given the discussion on marriage on your site today, I thought you (and others) might be interested in Dennis Prager’s column that was also published today on the topic. He makes one argument I’ve never thought of before: not one moral authority in all of history ever advocated homosexual “marriage” prior to today.
Jesse Powell writes:
The high functioning religious communities that exist today combine legal marriage with their particular brand of religion based culture. This approach seems more sensible to me and it is working in practice in many communities today.
Mr. Morris said, “But since society is heading in one direction and I’m heading in the exact opposite direction, why should I concern myself with a solution for them?”
I object to this statement. We should concern ourselves with a solution for “them” simply because they are fellow human beings and “we” and “them” are part of the same community with similar origins whether we like it or not. The proper attitude is to live virtuous lives and to convert others. Mr. Morris said, “I didn’t give up on society until it showed me in very clear terms that it had given up on me.” Whether society has given up on us is irrelevant; our purpose is to serve society as well as to create viable communities for ourselves. In my conception of things we are to serve God and serving God means to serve God’s creation; God’s creation being the society overall that we were born into. To truly fulfill our purpose in life we need to look out for not only people like ourselves but the wider society that we are a part of as well.
I assume Mr. Morris means that the best way to convert society is to give up on it —- give up on it, that is, by refusing any complicity in its endorsement of evil.
I’m sure your policeman friend has good qualities, even exceptionally good qualities, but his making his homosexuality open is essentially demanding that others approve of it. It’s like an alcoholic asking others to cheer him on as he drinks.
I agree. As I wrote; he is given broad leeway by everyone, including me. I’m not going to publicly challenge him or any other homosexual; as long as he keeps hands off me and mine. No one is going to challenge a uniformed and armed homosexual cop for being a homosexual. No one in our society is going to publicly challenge any homosexual for being a homosexual or acting like a homosexual and get by with it. I know that socializing with him is a clear sign of approval. I’m not going to let him run me away from the public spaces that I chose to be in, just because he does too. I could ignore him and everything about him. How long would I be made welcome? But, I should, and as I said I won’t. I want to live and relax in my own community. I couldn’t get from here to the grocery store if I asserted my principles at every turn. I’m not going to stir up a hornets nest. And no one else is either. We’re stuck with what we’ve created. We are all hypocrites in public. To be otherwise reckless and risky, or courageous and alone. I’d love to hear an honest and practical solution to the homosexualization of society. I’ve heard none. No one knows what to do. No one. There are ideas that can’t be put into practice. Maybe homosexual marriage will be the final stand. Maybe homosexual marriage will never become the law of the land. How many homosexuals truly give a damn about anything but homosexual sex? They’re not going away. It’s taught in our public schools to our children. They are privileged and protected. Withholding approval is many decades too late, and would be like a small handful of traditionalists spitting into the ocean at this point.
I’m not sure about your situation. But my view is different. I believe there are ways that one can be civil and still refrain from these kind of social occasions. I realize it comes at a cost and that it may mean one lives a less social existence.
Jeremy responds to Laura:
Laura asks: “Why not do the same with all contracts among Christians? Why involve the government or Church? Why not leave the punishment of criminals up to God?”
If your judgment deems it necessary to introduce a fourth party into the ecclesiastical marriage covenant, whose sole purpose is to act as the earthly enforcer of the terms, so be it. In my opinion, it defeats the purpose of ecclesiastical marriage entirely simply because that fourth party will ultimately exercise its enforcement role as the government does now. Which is to say very poorly and destructively. The church in today’s society is a licensed subsidiary of the government, hence it follows the government’s standard of marriage and family and therefore is not trustworthy to enforce terms of any agreement between God-fearing Christians.
In short, the responsibility rests on the individual’s shoulders if one is uncomfortable with an unadulterated ecclesiastical marriage covenant as it lacks an official earthly enforcer party. Then simply do not enter into said covenant and seek one that provides the necessary elements to satisfy your own judgment. I use the term “official enforcer” because an unofficial one already exists, the witnesses to the marriage ceremony, usually roles filled by the family of origin for both husband and wife. The duty of a witness is well known.
Laura wrote: “I guess because one doesn’t know that she will always observe God’s model of self-government and because children are involved.”
If he or she chooses to disregard his or her duty to God and his or her family, a duty that he or she consciously consented to, what foreign entity could offer a true remedy? I submit to you that God, and the families of origin for both parties have the only real influence and jurisdiction. If their influence in a particular case is insufficient, no true remedy will be had, at least not immediately. The state is notorious for causing minor problems to escalate. When an offended party cries to the state for help the result is the creation of wedge between husband and wife that in most cases can never be removed. Sole custody and child support, are not true remedies. Whereas following God’s plan, conscience and family justice ultimately rule the day, whether it be sooner or later.
As for my wife and I, we have chosen the pure form of ecclesiastical marriage, if anyone considers it a “risk” I simply say to them, “You do not have to take the risk. ” The ecclesiastical marriage covenant requires willing consent for it to be binding. It is a return to our roots from the tyrannical rule of the government over marriage. It is a clarification of a blurred truth, that government has no business or jurisdiction in marriage or family. And it is available for all who seek it. For those who do not, they have their marriage contract with the state, and the “protection” it offers.
My wife and I both agreed that pure ecclesiastical marriage is what we wanted. And it has drawn us closer together since there is no outside authority to appeal to, aside from God. We put our faith in God and his word, in particular: ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Very interesting. Thank you for your insights.
Everything you say about ecclesiastical marriage makes sense for people like you and like me. When I raised my concern, I did not mean that I myself would be hesitant to enter into such a bond if I were marrying. I was questioning how it could become attractive to many people.
You added an important phrase to your description of ecclesiastical marriage that at least partly addresses my concern. You wrote:
I submit to you that God, and the families of origin for both parties have the only real influence and jurisdiction. [emphasis added]
Family and community have served as this earthly authority in the past, and are a good alternative to oversight by a bureaucratic State, which has a greater interest in the dissolution of marriage than its preservation. Families today often stand by and watch divorce unfold, but that is probably at least partly due to the State’s takeover of marriage. As with schooling, marriage should be returned as much as possible to the jurisdiction of God, the family and local communities.
I believe, however, as Mr. Powell mentioned, one can still be subject to family courts in states that recognize common law marriage.
Despite these reservations and questions, I consider ecclesiastical marriage the most hopeful area, indeed the only hopeful area, of marriage reform. It is far too late to go back and start tinkering with divorce laws. Nothing significant could be accomplished. The whole thing must go, and the future of marriage depends on a restoration of the immense amount of social trust and cohesiveness that have been destroyed by atheistic family courts, divorce laws and now same-sex unions.
Mr. Powell writes:
One way of looking at things which is pretty grim is to look at the fundraising totals for the pro- and anti-homosexual marriage groups in the states where referenda on the issue will be held. In Washington State, the pro group, Washington United for Marriage, has raised $11.9 million while the anti group, Preserve Marriage Washington has raised $2.6 million. In Maryland, pro groups have raised $3.6 million and anti-groups have raised $0.9 million. In Maine, pro groups have raised $4.8 million and anti groups have raised $0.7 million. In Minnesota (up to June), the pro group, Minnesotans United for All Families, had raised $4.6 million and the anti group, Minnesota for Marriage, had raised $1.4 million.
That is a fundraising advantage of at least four to one for all the states except Minnesota, where the advantage is only three to one in favor of the groups supporting homosexual marriage. This implies that the “grassroots” momentum is on the side of those advocating for the weakening of the marital bond and the denial of the intrinsic value of heterosexuality. If the referenda results end up being in favor of homosexual marriage that likely will encourage the Supreme Court to rule that homosexual marriage is a constitutional right.
In my way of looking at things, the mainstream culture is already lost; the point is to promote and grow and be a part of the counter-culture, a counter-culture that will draw most of its strength from new converts away from the mainstream culture as the mainstream culture dies. The acceptance of homosexual marriage is part of the death process of the mainstream culture.
At the same time, the counter-culture is growing mostly as it expresses itself through religious communities. It is becoming easier to function within a healthy subculture that one can voluntarily join, not harder. The overall culture may be becoming progressively worse but at the same time alternative social environments are growing as well.
Paul, who is a lawyer, writes:
Laura, you are right. There must be a tangible way to protect the rights of spouses, and the state is the only tangible authority around. Marriage is and always has been a contract in the Christian West. Although Caesar should make religious authority tangible if couples choose religious authority, the ultimate authority always will reside with Caesar, as it were.
In Louisiana, the covenant marriage is available to couples who want more than what traditional marriage with no-fault divorce has become. “In the event that the marriage does fall apart, only adultery, abuse, abandonment or a lengthy separation will allow a divorce to take place.” This is a step in the right direction, but couples don’t use it.
In my view, the reason is, couples know that based on current societal attitudes, they are just going to get thrown away anyway when things get tough, and the couples do not want to go back to long waits or the expense of lawyers and arbitrary judges, who decide domestic disputes instead of juries in most states. Moreover, even juries are arbitrary, if the truth be known.
Husbands know the wives know the state is going to take care of the wives and children, so he has no power. Therefore, why should he go through the expense and trauma of a long divorce proceeding?
Laura wrote: “Everything you say about ecclesiastical marriage makes sense for people like you and like me. When I raised my concerns, I did not mean that I myself would be hesitant to enter into such a bond if I were marrying. I was questioning how it could become attractive to many people.”
I assumed you were playing devils advocate a bit, but since you asked the question in the first person, and in a non-hypothetical manner I answered it directly.
I suppose that one of the only ways for this to become attractive to many people, is for more Christians to choose this path and lead by example. In accordance with 1 Peter 3:15 which states: ” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Approaching marriage from a pagan standpoint, ecclesiastical marriage looks unattractive. Sadly, ecclesiastical marriage is nearly unheard of in our culture as it stands today. Therefore the ability of people to make a contrast between the two approaches is severely stifled. Many Christians have bought into the state-sanctioned marriage license approach, and have paid the price. This approach has been so deeply planted in people’s minds, thanks to public schools and “easybelievism” Christianity that, even if presented with ecclesiastical marriage most would reject it immediately. If true Christianity were even semi-dominant in society, one would see a large number of people seek God and convert to Christianity based on what they have seen of Christian marriage. As it was in Roman times.
Laura wrote: ” I believe, however, as Mr. Powell mentioned, one can still be subject to jurisdiction of family courts in states that recognize common law marriage.”
This is a topic of debate, and could turn into a deep discussion. In my opinion, the court would only have jurisdiction if I consciously or tacitly submitted to their “authority.” Or to express it another way, the court would only assume the role of administrator of the marriage covenant if, petitioned to do so, or by consenting to an action brought against one by the court. Also, there are steps that can be taken in the creation of the ecclesiastical marriage certificate to avoid such jurisdictional confusion. The only exception I can think of would be in the case of physical harm, if and only if the injured party was compelled to seek a remedy through the courts.
Laura wrote: “Families today often stand by and watch divorce unfold, but that is probably at least partly due to the State’s takeover of marriage. As with schooling, marriage should be returned as much as possible to the jurisdiction of God, the family and local communities. “
This is absolutely correct. When the state assumes jurisdiction, as a side effect people no longer consider it to be a personal responsibility. It is a tragedy that the education of children has been consumed in this confusion, as well as families taking care of their own elderly.
Homosexuals are engaged in a feverish pursuit of having their “unions” recognized as legal marriage for two simple reasons. One is to be able to shove their lifestyle in the heterosexual world’s face, more than they already have. The other is to make themselves eligible for all the ‘benefits” the state provides to legally married couples, such as, but not limited to SSI survivor benefits, adoption, legal name change, divorce, government pension benefits paid to a surviving “spouse,” various tax “incentives,” and a host of other things I can’t even think of right now. That alone should be compelling evidence that something is very wrong with state-licensed legal marriage, even for the Christians that have bought into civil marriage, but just can’t allow themselves to go along with homosexuals being recognized as legally married. After all, that would mean in the state’s eyes homosexual “unions,” which are in blatant violation of God’s law, are equal with legitimate marriage.
State licensed marriage, with it’s mountain of problems, has up till now still managed to adhere to God’s law at least in this respect. Even for the less zealous Christians among us, the acceptance of homosexual “unions” as being equal with legitimate marriage by the state is such a blatant violation of God’s law it stands out like a sore thumb! This hot-button issue just might be enough to cause them to seek an alternative, or to reconsider one already dismissed, if for no other reason than to protest, or out of necessity, to avoid violating their own consciences. “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” -Numbers 32:23
Buck senses that the only way he can continue to enjoy the company of the group of men with whom he is able to relax and socialize, is by silence and acquiescence. This situation illustrates the way sex advocates have completely changed the culture. Formerly, this group of men could have gathered for cigars and conversation and no one would have asked or even cared to know about the nature of each other’s sexual activities or inclinations. Now, the kind of sex we like (or don’t like) is somehow made known to others as a salient (even the most salient) feature of identity, but this fact must appear to be of no consequence in social dynamics. It’s as if we are being told to notice this is a fundamental aspect of a person’s identity — and at the same time required to behave as if there is nothing to notice here. This creates a paralyzing cognitive dissonance — we must both know and not know — and it has a silencing effect on us. We are isolated in our thoughts, and publicly comply with official expectations for our own comfort and safety. (Godwin’s Law deters me from making obvious comparisons . . .)
I can certainly sympathize with Terry Morris in recognizing that if his marriage license now means something other than what it did when he obtained it, it now feels rather radioactive and his instinct is to get rid of it. This will also be the case with the birth certificate. If by law, two people of the same sex are listed simply as “parent 1 and parent 2″ — then what is the meaning of our children’s birth certificates — or our own or those of our ancestors? Should we start throwing those back, too? Are we to give up the words “mother” and “father”, along with “wife” and “husband”, “male” and “female”?
What Mr. Morris must think about is his own children. If we continue to allow the alternative sexual community to hijack our words — our very means of thinking and communicating — then what is left for his children, and his children’s children? If we toss our marriage licenses over the White House fence, we make a show of bravado, but who wins? The government then has our marriage licenses and the word “marriage” as well.
This thought came to me as I was reading a letter to our local newspaper from an Eagle Scout, who is returning his medal to the Boy Scouts of America to protest its public refusal to facilitate the creep of “sexuality” into its mission
The Boy Scouts might yet be a model for us by saying, “This far and no farther”. An angry activist has tossed his Eagle Scout medal back to the Scouts, and the Scouts, though they have incurred the wrath of the sex advocates, have retained the meaning of the honor that hundreds (maybe thousands) of men have earned by striving to adhere to the idea and ideals of the Boy Scouts — and in so doing, have preserved it for those young men in the future — our children and yours.
See more discussion here.