By Alan J. Reinach
California’s Proposition 8 will be argued today in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This is the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 defining marriage as a man and a woman for the second time in less than a decade.
Seventh-day Adventists have a keen sense of being called to defend the authority of God’s law in a time of prevailing iniquity, but many have been largely apathetic to the challenges posed to the Creator’s wisdom and authority in the guise of same-sex marriage. The common sense thinking of the day seems to be that what two consenting adults of the same sex do in getting married is their business, and has no impact on me, or on society. This is profoundly shallow thinking, and a false construct.
First, what marriage is NOT! Marriage is not primarily about personal fulfillment and sexual gratification. It is not a narcissistic expression of individual rights or desire. If it were, then society would have little right or incentive to impose any restrictions. Even legitimate concerns regarding incest and inbreeding could be met by requirements that siblings desirous of marriage be sterilized as a pre condition. This may seem ludicrous, but the courts have opined about the “fundamental right to marry” at length, without ever taking the time to consider what it is they are talking about – what is marriage? If it is merely a private right over which society has no interest, and a fundamental right at that, then our laws have no business imposing any restrictions.
Marriage is an institution that provides the basic building block of society. It is the foundation for the social, economic, physical and spiritual health of both adults and children. All studies demonstrate that children raised in homes where both biological parents reside together reap enormous academic, economic and social benefits. Children raised in other types of homes are far more likely to be impoverished, drop out of high school, and struggle through life. Enduring married relationships provide economic as well as social, emotional, and moral stability. Society needs marriage. Children especially need their own mother and father.
The state has a profound interest in adopting policies that promote the stability of marriage – its own survival! Yet, for a generation, social policy has consistently undermined marriage. Welfare policies discourage men from living with their children and the mother of their children. No fault divorce has removed legal impediments to the dissolution of marriages. There was a time when both legal and social structures provided support for couples to work it out, and stay together. Those days are gone, probably forever.
Same-sex marriage is not the cause of the erosion of marriage in our society. It is more a symptom. Same sex couples who desire the legal and social benefits of marriage are not the boogeyman. They are coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members. They are us. Contrary to the legal and media propaganda, advocacy for marriage is not about hatred of gays or same sex couples. It is about something far more profound.
At its most basic, the debate over marriage is about the welfare of children. It is our children who suffer when parents never marry, or divorce. On a spiritual level, marriage is the human institution that is designed to help us experience the reality of a Loving, Triune God. In marriage, two individuals form a new unity, socially, emotionally and physically. We experience, in a limited way, the unity of the Godhead. An attack on marriage is really nothing less than an attack on the very nature of God, who declared: “let US make man in OUR image, after our likeness…,” and who made not man, but man and woman, male and female, in His own likeness.
Defenders of marriage face an unlevel playing field today. One of the judges on the three judge panel is married to the former director of the ACLU of Southern California, who was an active participant in strategizing attacks on Proposition 8. He refused to recuse himself from hearing this case. He believes he can be objective.
The first issue the court will consider is whether those defending Proposition 8 have the right to do so — the legal term is “standing.” The Governor and Attorney General are constitutionally charged with upholding the state constitution, but neither the current or the future governor or attorneys general are willing to do so. This is truly outrageous!
Judge Vaughn Walker, the trial judge whose homosexuality was “outted” by San Francisco’s own newspaper, the Chronicle, last February, betrayed his own bias when he permitted the City and County of San Francisco to intervene to attack Prop 8, but did not permit Imperial County to intervene to defend it!
That Prop 8 defenders even have to justify their right to defend it demonstrates what an unfair fight they face. Don’t be surprised if the Ninth Circuit rules against marriage. It has become the politically correct thing for courts to do. The American people have never voted against marriage, only our courts have.
Understand that the courts have declared that those of us who believe in marriage do so out of pure, unadulterated bigotry. We have no legitimate moral, social, rational, or constitutional basis for such a belief. By extension, if the Creator restricts marriage to a man and a woman, He is equally bigoted, unfair and dumb!
Marriage is like a thread binding the Decalogue together. It is implicated in many of the Ten Commandments. But this is not wisdom that can be known by believers alone. It is universal. An attack on marriage, then, is nothing less than an attack on God’s law, wisdom and authority. Is anyone paying attention? Does anyone care?
This article is by Alan J. Reinach