A Discussion on Defining Gay Marriage.. among Christians & Friends

There is lots to read in this post... a "civil" loving discussion on gay marriage and the role of law in defining marriage as it relates to a passionate faith.. rooted in Jesus Christ.   It occurred on Facebook on Jan 20, 21+ 2012 between Jeff, Steve, Bob, Melanie primarily... but others as well... and I'm saving it here to study... influence.. and remind us all... that WE MUST THINK ABOUT WHAT WE THINK! even when it is difficult.. or maybe especially when it is difficult.

 Just because man disrespects marriage does not change what marriage is. Same sex civil unions, ok. Marriage is man and woman.

That is not how the fundamentalists frame their argument. Hence the photo. And "civil unions" dont represent equal protection under the law.

Sure they do.

Simply isn't true Melanie. Same benefits, no. Huge burdens to even come close... For sure. But works out well for lawyers due to legal fees. More cost/burden for impaired benefits. Not equal.

I agree with Melanie. Rewrite the law; don't redefine. And many corporations honor partnerships now.

Concerned about redefining marriage? How about we start with actual problems...as photo represents.

Those are individual issues, Jeff. Not a blanket social policy . And the photo is as bogus as many of the others that pop up. There are plenty of gay couples that have had the same issues because it is a human condition to do stupid things, not a sexual orientation issue.

Bogus? those are all real, public disgraces... famous, popular, people.. who contribute to culture in mighty way... little humor for sure.. but they aren't bogus.
Divorce among traditional marriages and disintegration of the family is much bigger societal issue than Gay Marriage.. by any measure.. and that isn't "individual"
Gov't shouldn't be involved in defining marriage at all in my book..

There is no such thing as traditional marriage. That's the point. Marriage is marriage.

Marriages are at the heart of families... and in this country.. that "title" bestows rights and privileges... Clearly something has to change somewhere.

Yes, civil unions.
Marriage is not a title.

‎"Bogus" in the sense that all these causes, regardless of the cause, point out, inflate, only one side of an issue. But you know that as you've said it many times yourself. However, find an unbiased report of gay divorce rates since there hasn't been a history to track. Again Jeff. These are human issues not sexual orientation issues. Statistics will be across the board - ask any reputable actuarian.

C'mon Bob... I was deliberately trying to be inflammatory.. ;-)

As long as marriage comes with legal and governmental benefits that aren't conferred by anything else with, reserving it as a privilege for only a portion of the population is doing as much to undermine the institution's societal role as any of those listed folks' bad choices.

Jeff, I couldn't resist. :-) I write this in the spirit of love. It hurts my heart to see Christian brothers and sisters advocating for same-sex marriage. Also, regarding the photo, the failure of some will never justify the acquiescence of all. We are called to love everyone and should not hate anyone. It should be noted though that denying truth is not the same as love. I believe that the worst enemy the world has is one who knows the Truth and will not share it in love. Marriage is not a creation of government but of God. However, it is no accident or surprise that we have reached this point. I humbly offer the following scripture based thesis not to debate doctrine but to communicate thus refraining from numerous reference. I do pray my source is recognizable. We have for so long leaned unto our own understanding regarding matters of the flesh. There is a divine order of things and it is God’s will that we abstain from sexual immorality. We cannot simply point our fingers at the homo-sexual community. For too long we have ignored God’s ideal for all of us. His desire is that we remain pure outside the bond of marriage between a man and a woman. For the single person, male or female, God’s will is that they be celibate. For the married person, God’s will is for us to be faithful and monogamous. Throughout history, we have broken these God-given principles and looked the other way with regard to fornication and adultery. They have become commonplace in our society. Even in our churches. We have rationalized sins we should be so ashamed of. Today, if someone even in the church advocates for celibacy or abstinence among young people or single adults there is snickering and rolling of the eyes. More and more couples who attend church regularly are living together in fornication without marriage. Many believe it foolish to create a bond without first giving it a try. It is popular but it is not of God. The truth is that if a single heterosexual is attracted to another and decides it is O.K. to have sex with them than they are committing fornication. Likewise, if a married person is attracted to another person to whom they are not married and decides it is O.K. to have sex with them than they are committing adultery. The rampant onslaught of internet pornography has further exasperated the difficulty of abstinence and the ability to protect our hearts and minds. Now, along comes and attraction to the same sex. Just as attraction to the opposite sex does not justify fornication for the single nor does attraction to another partner justify adultery for the married, attraction to the same sex also does not justify either. Marriage is defined by God to be between a man and a woman. Sex outside of marriage is sin in the eyes of God. Therefore, same-sex relations or marriage are not within the will of God. We have now reached this point because sex in general in all aspects has been given blanket approval and acceptance in almost all forms. I don’t even want to think about what will be next.
One may say they were born or created with attraction to the same sex. That may indeed be true. I believe I was born to be attracted to the opposite sex. That does not make it O.K. for me to engage in sex prior to or outside of marriage. Obedience to God through His grace allows me to abstain. Because I love God and my wife, I do not want to hurt either. For singles, I believe that abstinence is a Spiritual gift for many including for those born homosexual. For those homosexuals not possessing the gift of abstinence or the miracle of healing, it is a calling. Humans do not have to define their lives by having sex. Sex is an awesome creation of God reserved for a man and a woman in marriage. Any other form is harmful and that is the truth. Believers can and must accept and love all people just as Christ has called instructed. But, to call the union of two same-sex individuals a marriage ordained by God is to turn our back on our faith and call evil good. It is sacrilegious. I pray that our society and our churches can make a place for all people but I do know that “same-sex marriage” will never make that happen. I pray that I nor anyone else will never have to go to jail for not performing the ceremony. I would if it came to that. I do not marry anyone that doesn’t understand marriage from a biblical perspective including heterosexuals. I would be naive to think that the definition of marriage will not change in our country. It already has in many states. However, I know that it has not and will not change in the eyes of God. I will love these people regardless and will strive to err on the side of grace. I pray for God’s mercy.
Now, if one is not a believer or is not concerned with being outside the will of God, marriage loses its very significance. In this case, Christians are called to be salt and light. In all cases there should be equal rights and equal protection under the law. By rights, all should be able to love whom they wish and all should be able to work, live, eat, visit, care for etc. We have a long way to go here in society. However, with regard to equal protection under the law, we are there. No sarcasm of arrogance intended here but all are equally protected in that all may choose to marry a person of the opposite sex.
We are all wonderfully and fearfully made creations of an almighty God. The problem is we all have a deadly problem inherited from our fathers all the way back to Adam. We live in a fallen world and we are Sinners. We should not over emphasize any sin over another. Christ died for them all. He loves us and is not willing that any should perish. He came that we might have life and life to the fullest. As we flee from sin in all forms we grow closer to Him and there is a peace that passes all understanding. These sins from which we must flee include self-righteousness, hate, slander, mistreatment of others and many more.

Steve, that is an amazing statement of Truth. Thank you for your considerate words an willingness to stand for truth when the consequences will be ridicule and accusations of hate. I stand with you.

hmmm, Steve and Melanie, I see it advocating for love. God knows what is in our hearts, a piece of paper or legal recognition changes nothing in His eyes. God knows if you are living a lie one way or the other (maybe if I marry a man God won't notice that I actually love that special woman or vice versa) so I vote for love every time.

Go with the hmmm Bob. Think & pray about it. I'm for the love but it's not synonymous with the truth. Calling something to be something its not doesn't make it so. Changed laws won't make people love. Changed lives will. Blessings

Sin or no sin is up to each of us individually. Faith and a personal relationship with Christ are personal.
Please explain how those principles So eloquently discussed in this case should be used by a free country where religion and govt are separate to discriminate against a segment of the population based on a theological definition. That segment is free to not believe and interpret scripture differently if at all.
I don't believe that govt should provide special benefits and be involved at all. Having the govt define marriage according to a Christian theological model is somehow okay? As it violates the equal protection clause?

I support churches defining marriage as they choose. The issue here is civil governance and the assignment of benefits equally.
As to theology, if we are to err I believe it should be on the side of love and inclusion in the face of law. Just as Jesus did. God indeed made us all. Fearfully, wonderfully. Each of us. All of us. Judging our brothers rarely ends well if ever. Practically necessary... Ideologically & theologically flawed for sure.

Another thought... If govt remain involved with marriage as is likely....Should the govt impose direct theologically based conditions for divorce? How? Why?
Moving to an inclusionary legal position seems the only viable option to me for anyone who supports liberty and free separation of church & state...

Good questions/points. Once again I will communicate using the principle rather than specific verse. God has made it very clear in the old and new covenants what sin is. It is not relative. There are some things that do fall into that category for which he said to him that knows to do good and does it not; to him it is sin. Throughout time He has placed governments to lead, bless, and discipline His people. The Government we have is the one that God let be. We are indeed to render unto Caesar as it were. We are to be obedient unto those in authority. However, the trouble with governments, and particularly democracies, is that we get the type of leadership and laws we deserve. Jesus told us to go and make disciples, baptizing them…..and teaching them to observe all that He had commanded. He was talking to His followers and to the ones His followers were able to get to follow by telling the truth and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. He told these people, US, to be salt and light; to be the preservative of the culture and the light for the path. We are to be a bright city on a hill and a candle that is not hidden. He was not talking to Those People Over There” as Arsenio Hall might say. He was talking to Christians. We must never underestimate our role as a preservative and light in the culture. Unfortunately, many have confused the role and seen it as a self-righteous appointment to stick their figure in the eyes of others. That’s not it at all. It’s not about legislating morality; It is about living a life surrendered to God so that morality is the norm. This country was founded on these principles in spite of rampant hypocrisy. The Judeo-Christian ethic was overwhelming the norm. That is no longer the case. I am reasonably sure that over time the society will fall to an even lesser norm. Jesus told us there would be days like this. He said they would not endure sound truth and they would look for those who would scratch their itching ears telling them just what they wanted to hear. This is far from love. God did not call all the people to act like Christians. He called His followers to act like Christians and to preserve the culture so that even the non-believer would benefit by what was best for them. The rain falls and the sun shines on the just and the unjust. Christians are not “just” because of anything we have done but because of what Christ did on our behalf. We should not strive to live a sinless life to be all that, but rather to be pleasing to Him out of gratitude. It does not hurt or surprise me to see those who don’t know Christ pushing their agenda. It hurts my heart to see those who God has called to be salt and light give in and lose their savor. We can love people unconditionally and love God with all our heart soul and mind. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are the two very things on which the whole law of God hangs. We must not under estimate our role as the preservative. Abraham negotiated with God on behalf Sodom & Gomorra. He was able to talk God out of destroying the city if there could be found 50 righteous people there. He then very boldly whittled it down to just 10. Lot and his wife, 2 daughters and 2 son-in-laws would have been six. If we think about it, four more people could not be found righteous in the Lord. As we know, God destroyed the city. Today, we have “out-Sodomed” Sodom. They had no bibles and we have billions, they had no churches and we have millions of them, they had no preachers and we have thousands upon thousands. They had no example and we have their example yet we have out-Sodomed Sodom. I am not trying to control all those who are not Christ followers. I’m trying to make as many disciples as possible and teach THEM to obey all that God has commanded. I do this because I love God with all my heart, soul and mind, and because I strive to love others as myself. It IS all about the love. I pray that God will continue to allow His people to be the Salt (preservative) and Light (guide) in this culture as long as it is His will. We know that one glorious day He is coming again. He warned us it would get a whole lot worse before it gets better. I strive to preserve the culture out of love for those who know not. It’s not out of hate in any way.

Your way is by biblical mandate, not free will/choice.. That is not the way that Jesus modeled for us.

And as far as sin goes, there is no hierarchy here... All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.. Why should the gov't impose theological regulation in once case over another to save the culture or defend a true definition? We are NOT a THEOCRACY.. we are a free society built on judeo-christian principles.
There is no logic here Steve..except to accept and include and allow God to judge in the end. I hear and appreciate your passion, but we dont live in Old Testament times. Jesus freed us from that law with his love and his freedom. His mandate was only that we must choose him.. not be obligated.. from money to morality...
I think that in a few years.. the cultural, often cruel, discrimination and segregation currently targeted toward the LGBT community will be considered yet another wound to be healed on the side of a great country. as slavery and women's rights before... Our constitution guarantees equal protection to all. In a free country, we simply cannot allow citizens to be discriminated against due to sexual orientation. the message of love & inclusion championed by MLKjr is highly relevant. The change is not easy.. but will prevail. Lets get on with it...

Which is the greater problem.. Gays marrying so that they can live in families and be treated equally under the law or the 99% of society which chooses and is allowed to choose to divorce... with a >50% failure rate and the colossal impact of that failure on children and extended families... equally breaking biblical mandates? The LGBT community is indicted and targeted because it is in the minority and can't defend itself. This cannot be allowed in a free society. Truly.. we must do better... acting in love. as salt and light..

Wow! My failure to communicate is discouraging. I spoke nothing of mandates for anyone and only of free will. My desire to please God has nothing to do with mandate and everything to do with gratitude. Jesus loves us all and he died for us all but He doesn’t “include” us all in a lot of things. He said those who love Him will honor what he says. When He accepted people where they were he loved them and he healed them and He shared the Kingdom of God with them and them. Then He told them to go and sin no more. Our culture is free to choose. Because of God’s people (salt) there are many evils that society has been preserved from. However, the ruler of this world has had his way with many believers and non-believers alike. All should be loved but not all should be “included” in something that is by God’s definition, “exclusive” such as marriage. To call something what it is not does not make it so. There is no “logic” in performing a marriage ceremony to be ordained by God before a Holy God that does not approve of the union. Call it what you will but it is not a “marriage” in the eyes of God. Now, folks who are not concerned with that have the freedom to unite. When they do, they should be afforded the rights of partnership. They should not be “indicted” or “targeted”. But, neither should they try to redefine what God had defined. I would like all of us to be able to determine for ourselves who family is. For example, it should be up to me who I want to put on my medical insurance or will, etc., as long as I am paying for it. Speaking of free will, forced acceptance is no acceptance at all. I can accept what two people do in their own conscience and love them regardless. I cannot accept them telling me to accept what my God does not accept. It may seem like a distinction without a difference to some but the word marriage means something that will not change regardless of the law. I would to some extend agree that the government has no business in marriage at all. Though as I mentioned, governments are those that God let be. For one that is for, by, and of the people, the dominate seasoning or salt does indeed preserve the culture. This is true for so many other things. We do not steal, bare false witness, murder, etc…lawfully because of the norm that has been placed on us all by a standard of normal preserved by the masses. Many are offended by equating homosexuality with sin. For non-believers this is understandable and I do not judge them. For the believer it is clear. God’s view is that it is sin. Can we be born that way? Yes, we are all born sinners and we all struggle with sin in many capacities. Some struggle with same-sex attraction. Many struggle with fornication regardless or orientation. Many struggle with murder. It would be foolish to defend murder by saying it’s not a sin for me and who are you to say it is and by what authority and why and just because you believe that why should it apply to me? It is true that sin is sin in the eyes of God and we have indeed all sinned and still do. All sin is forgivable including homosexuality as well as calling a homosexual union a marriage. However, there is no need to advocate for legalizing it. Will it happen? Probably, just like many other sins that have been legalized but that does not make it right. I was against the recent bill that allowed gambling in my state. However, I still loved those who gambled before it was legal and I love them now. It doesn’t make it right. The failure of traditional marriage is sad. However, it is not in any way a rationalization for a new definition. I’m quite certain that gay unions have and will break up as well. There is no relevance or logic here. People who are against murder have committed murder but that doesn’t mean we should legalize it or redefine what it means to take a life. With regard to divorce by the way, there is indeed much that our government has to say with regard to divorce law grounds defined on the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Civil rights are to be advocated with perseverance for all people and many have stood by while others have suffered unjustly. However, to equate the issue of same-sex marriage to the plight of minorities once branded as less than human and not allowed to vote or own property…is a travesty and the ultimate insult to those who have struggled and still do. One definite similarity though, is that changed laws did not make people love. Changed lives did. I pray for God’s love, truth, and wisdom upon you. Peace.

I hope you will read and reread this entire thread. Remembering that civil govt doesn't allow choice as faith does. Thus using govt to enforce faith based standards, rights, punish for sins..and define marriage is not consistent with a faith based in freedom and love, forgiveness & redemption. The outcome of our current civil definition of marriage in most cases (va for sure) is state sponsored discrimination against LGBT citizens. I don't need to agree with others choices but as a Christian I cannot force them (using govt) to adhere to mine or yours. I can model and love. Influencing, forgiving, sacrificing for all.., and likely becoming subject to ridicule and accusations of not standing for truth.
Freedom is messy and flawed in our world just as forgiveness and redemption are messy, often seemingly unfair. Thus the miracle of salvation by grace. Peace!

You're a brave soul, Jeff, and you've eloquently stated and defended your faith. The real beneficiaries of your courage aren't so much your gay friends like me (although I'm very thankful). The real beneficiaries of your courage are your children. Proverbs 20:7 "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him."

Marriage has always been a property issue not a religious issue. Either Americans support equal rights for all or they don't support the basic principles behind our government. Most of the anti-gay people either claim religious belief as their support for discrimination - we heard that about integration - or they seem to be afraid of something that has nothing to do with them at all. Religion should not be imposed on US citizens. Anybody's religion. Those who think we are a "Christian" nation simply don't understand why the founding fathers wanted separation of church and state. And so-called Christians can't even agree with each other so which version of "Christianity" would they like to see imposed? And the other issue is simply an odd obsession with what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Why they feel the need to watch everyone else or even find it interesting is beyond me. As the bumper sticker says...‎"Mind your own family."

I agree with so much of what you have said regarding rights of individuals. I would stand and have stood for proper treatment of those with whom I disagree. However, I cannot embrace and advocate for something that God would not condone. God's grace allows for much that He does not condone. We are all sinners. However, unrepentant sin is defiance in the face of God. It is as if to say, I know what you say but I don't care. I know fornication is wrong but I don't care. God has provided forgiveness through His grace and if this is wrong I don't want to be right. We say this about so many things. However, I cannot understand why any believer would want to help any other person, believer or not, institutionalize a perpetual status that is not of God. Love them and accept them regardless of where they are; yes. Help them to redefine what God has defined so they may be "included" in the divinely exclusive; No. Mark, the same book tells us the children will suffer for the sins of their fathers. Whoa unto them that call evil good and good evil. This is not an issue that will be solved this side of eternity. Jeff, as we have stated before, we will have to agree to disagree agreeably and pray for God's mercy and wisdom. I do not hate anyone. I pray that all who read this thread will benefit an seek the face of God on the matter. Blessings

Blessings indeed!

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Steve: You don't have to embrace or advocate for same sex marriage any more than you have to embrace or advocate for any other issue with which you disagree. You are advocating the establishment of religion. Jeff just posted the item that tells you it doesn't matter what you think your god or anyone else's god wants. Nobody has the right under our constitution to tell the others of us what to do or not do just because you think your god has an opinion on it. Not Christians or Christianists or Muslims or Mormons or Wiccans or those who would abolish churches or those who believe that mushrooms reveal the truth. Your only responsibility is you and your offspring. Let the rest of us make our own peace with Godde or nothing as we see fit.

Amen! that's NO law! This however, has been so brutally ignored in so many ways. This also does not state separation of church and state. The Church (the Bride of Christ) is not a place or a religion. it is a people. A people that are part of the culture and part of the state. In this regard, they cannot be separated. Our Government is a democracy. I fully support the right of ALL individuals including followers of Christ to petition the Government. As I stated, I'm reasonably sure that the social "norm" in this country will change and has changed for that matter. I want to re-emphasize that it is only the Church (specifically referring to bible believing Christ- followers) to witch I speak and to whom God was speaking to regarding being salt and light. Though I fully support their rights to advocate as well, it pains me when I see they have lost their savor. I don't want to force anyone to do or not do anything. I do want to encourage believers to seek the face of God and His will for their life. I believe that in so doing they will by their own obedience be a preservative of the culture. I want Christ-followers to BE instead of just DO. I'm not calling anyone to be against anything. I'm not calling for petitions or boycotts or any sort of hateful behavior. I'm calling believers to for God and live the life that Christ modeled. To the best of my knowledge he never spoke for or against any law of the day. He lived the example and called us to so the same. That in itself preserves.

Really good stuff there Steve. Focusing on that purpose unites us all!
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)
[16] Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. [17] When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. [18] Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jeff, I used that scripture earlier without the reference. Shelley, I am not at all desiring the establishment of State religion. I do believe our forefathers desired freedom of religion but that is not the same as total freedom from it. Like it or not, all laws of any State are derived through the confluence of influences and social norms of the people making up that culture. All laws flow from some agreement of someone's truth or the compromise of multiple perspectives. I believe that this is the vary thing God had in mind when he compelled His people to be salt and light. He new that when people live their lives surrendered to Him and they follow the example of Christ, they would be happy and they would be a positive influence on their culture. When these people assemble and petition, they do so for the common good. Likewise, they establish a social norm brought about by simply who they are. In a democracy, the more people living their lives in this way, the more likely they are to preserve a culture. As this salt if you will loses its savor, the affect and the effect on the culture becomes less significant. I would agree that our culture has evolved to the point that those people who truly desire to follow Christ and submit themselves to His truths have diminished. My calling is to encourage these people to be the best Christ-followers they can be in the culture in which God has placed them. God told us the greatest two commandments on which all the others hung were to "Love the Lord thy God with all our heart soul and mind. And, likewise love others as ourselves". In a nut shell, Love God and Love people. God knew that if we succeed at these two commands we will not be taking our neighbors stuff or stealing his wife of telling lies on him. He knew that if we surely loved Him we would not be doing the things that were against His will or harmful to us to the best of our ability. He also knew that if we did this in a Christ-like manner within the culture that others would notice and He would be glorified. God Loves us and He is with us, and He is for us.

Seems to me that what you SHOULD be proposing, Jeff, is state recognition of and definition of civil unions. All the responsibilities, requirements, obligations and benefits are laid out. Marriage would qualify as a state sponsored civil union. Other civil unions of consenting adults would also qualify. This removes the state from themarriage business. (... this can't be an original idea. )
For the longest time, I've been in the "just don't call it marriage" camp. I know I am not alone. Redefining marriage into something it is not is a nonstarter for too many people, and in my opinion, unnecessary. I believe the critical obstacles to equal protection could be removed in the way i suggest, which I think is a common ground for principled, loving, fair minded middle on this issue.


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