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Whose role to define marriage?

Published 11:04am Saturday, July 6, 2013

I’ve debated whether or not I should write this column for a couple of weeks now, ever since the Supreme Court rendered a decision that seems to have helped clear the way for the legalization of same-sex unions.

My reluctance to tackle this topic, and this is coming from someone who rarely hesitates to share his opinion on most anything, stems from a couple of factors. The first is the fact that my opinion is likely to anger everyone, and not just one side of the debate or the other. It’s a lot easier to write something you know at least half of your readers are going to agree with. The second is that I’m not sure that I’m right. I feel pretty secure in the fact that those who disagree will let me know I’m not.

So here goes nothing.

I believe that marriage is intended to be the union of one man and one woman. That’s what I believe. I believe so because that’s what The Bible, the foundation of my entire faith in God, leads me to believe. There are those of you who believe differently than I do, and that’s your right. But I’m pretty set in my belief on this issue, and I’m not sure anyone can convince me otherwise, although I welcome you to try.

And that is what will make this next statement seem so contradictory, which is the fact that I am not opposed to the state legalizing what is referred to as same-sex marriage.

How, you may be asking yourself, can a person be so firm in their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman yet not be opposed to same-sex marriage? In my mind, the explanation is really quite simple.

I believe that marriage itself is an institution ordained by God, not by the state. I believe that marriage, while it is a union recognized by the state for legal purposes such as property transference and making medical decisions, is a spiritual decision entered into by a man and a woman based on their shared belief in God. Therefore, I don’t think that the state actually plays a role in the spiritual meaning of marriage other than to define the rules that govern the legal contract that such a state-recognized union becomes.

If the state’s recognition of marriage then is nothing more than a mere legal formality, why should the state be allowed to pick and choose who may or may not share their belongings and make medical decisions for one another? On that basis, I fail to come up with a good reason why it should.

Marriage, to me anyway, means so much more than whom you get to leave your belongings to when you die. Yet in a very technical but oversimplified sense, that is the only role the state plays in the union of two people.

I believe very strongly that the first amendment to the United States’ constitution, which describes what is commonly referred to as the legal separation of the church and state, further defends my position. It states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If at its very core marriage is a religious institution, and Congress were to decide who should and should not participate and thereby becomes a voice for the church, would that not directly violate the law of the land?

By the same token, if state-recognized unions are not a religious entity but a legal one, should the state have the right to decide that certain people don’t have the right to legally share their property among themselves?

Many Christian conservatives believe that same-sex unions are a threat to marriage. I just don’t believe that same-sex unions, or heterosexual unions for that matter, are the same as marriage at all. In my heart and mind, there is only One who can ordain what is and is not marriage, and in this case the state is not the one.

  • kingradman

    Excellent article Tony!!

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  • Sinoptik

    An absolutely logical column and I’m waiting for the naysayers to come in and show that logic does not matter.

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  • Second Opinion

    Only a person without sound reasoning could get angry with what you have just said. Very well said at that.

    Most of the debate stems from the fact that no one truly knows what GOD has put together or what the will totally has in store for humans.

    The writers of the constitution understood that, They also knew of the history of the debate and all were immigrants because of it.

    Personal relationships with GOD when it comes to governance are shared experiences not imposed.

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    • handkusp45

      “nobody truly knows what GOD has put togeher”. Huh? The Bible is very clear that He created them male and female and instituted marriage. It is also very clear about homosexual sex being wrong and even the consequences of that. And this old argument that the state should stay out of moral issues is lame. We have a law against murder. But the state sanctioned abortion. The state constantly inserts itself into the church. Having said all this, and obviously not favoring sam-sex marriage, it should be an issue for each state to decide. Californians have voted several times for it not to be legal in their state. But the Supreme Court has seen fit to insert itself once again and overrule the will of the people.

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      • Sinoptik

        Leviticus 19:27 reads “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.”

        Leviticus 11:8, which is discussing pigs, reads “You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”

        Leviticus 19:28 reads, “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”

        Leviticus 19:19 reads, “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

        Timothy 2:9 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.”

        Leviticus 11:10 reads, “But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you.”

        Deuteronomy 25:11-12 “If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.”

        I know you will say jesus took these away, but then he took the rubbish about homosexuality away with them.

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      • handkusp45

        sinoptic, I noticed you didn’t include the scripture in Romans concerning homosexuality. Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to take it way. Your comments bring to mind another scripture, “forever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth”.

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      • Sinoptik

        I prefer to bring up romans 2, or did you not get that far? Before you answer, remember, I care not one whit about romans 1, 2, old testament, new testament. I do however love tossing up the hypocrisy and judging others all day every day. (It’s how I know who to dislike)

        This whole article was about understanding other individuals rights and the fact that the government has no place to remove rights from someone involuntarily. Well written, thought out, and, one would think, enlightening.

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