New Solutions for Gay Marriage

Since politics is on the minds of many, it is time for me to tackle some hot political topics . . .

For many, the issue of gay rights is very simple. Some say that absolutely no legal distinctions should be made between heterosexual relationship and homosexual ones. On the other hand, some say that that no special concessions should be made for gay couples and marriage should never be defined outside one man and one woman. I believe that we must all admit, though, that this issue is far from simple. It is complex not because the solutions are complex, but because dealing with the variety of people in America is complex.

There are two issues with which we must come to terms–How should gay people be treated in our society, and should gay people be allowed to marry? We must come up with creative (and simple) solutions to these issues.

How Should Gay People be Treated?

I believe that we should base our values and our behavior on the example of Jesus. Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality. He did, though, continually interact with people who were considered by His society to deserve judgement, shame, condemnation, and punishment. The account of Jesus’ response to the woman caught in adultery (John 8) seems especially relevant.

A woman was brought before Jesus. The religious leaders said that she had been caught in the act of adultery and should be stoned to death. According to their ancient law, this was true. They asked Jesus for his opinion on the case. The account in John tells us that Jesus knelt and began to write in the dirt. He then spoke to the men who are ready to stone the woman. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Every one of the would-be executioners dropped their stones and walked away.

While Jesus did tell the woman to “go and sin no more,” He first showed solidarity with her. Jesus demonstrated that He was on her side. He comforted the woman and dispersed her enemies.

How often do today’s followers of Jesus show solidarity with with homosexual people, comforting rather than accusing? How often do we say, “I am on your side”?

No matter what we believe about the morality of another person’s actions, that person is always deserving of dignity, respect, fairness, and love.

Should Gay People be Allowed to Marry?

The fact that marriage is a “sacred bond between one man and one woman” is perhaps the most common defense against the legalization of gay marriage. This statement implies that marriage is a union established by God. It is a religious institution.

If we accept that marriage is a spiritual or religious institution, then we must conclude that it should not be in the hands of the United States government. (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . that’s from the constitution)

If we leave marriage in the hands of secular governments then we will never have a satisfactory resolution to the debate about gay marriage. I propose that government get out of the marriage business. We should allow churches to marry who they choose to marry and limit the role of government to managing legal affairs.

This arrangement would mean that if a person wants a legal union, they go to the courthouse. If a person wants a marriage , they go to the church. A couple who wish to share property, rights of inheritance, and the right to make medical decisions could do so through a legal agreement. A couple wishing to enter the sacred union of marriage before God could do so under the authority of the church.

While this proposal will not suit some, I believe that it is our most reasonable solution. It preserves the sanctity of marriage by placing it solely in the hands of the church, leaves definitions of morality in the hands of religious leaders rather than politicians, and respects the role of government to manage legal issues.

About JasonWiedel

Jason runs a non-profit coffee shops, works for Habitat for Humanity and wants to help the world understand what it means to follow Jesus in a new way.

10 Responses to “New Solutions for Gay Marriage”

  1. Jason, I fully agree with you here. Nicely put!

  2. We can take the inherently religious status of marriage a bit further- if marriage is HOLY union between a man and a woman before God, then unions between atheist heterosexual couples should also be null and void legally, but they’re not. It makes me wonder how much this issue is about sticking with the bible rather than genuine prejudice for homosexuals.

  3. “If we accept that marriage is a spiritual or religious institution, then we must conclude that it should not be in the hands of the United States government.”

    If the word ‘marriage’ was the sole property of Christianity, you would be right. But as the term predates Christianity and Judaism, no religion or government owns it.

    And as I can legally be married to my fiance, with myself being an atheist and my fiance being an agnostic, and we don’t have to have any religious trappings at all…then there’s no reason gays can’t be married the same way.

    Or be married by religions that have no problem with it.

    • Because I write from a Christian perspective I refer to “the church” rather than citing all religious establishments. This does not mean that I believe that marriage is the sole property of Christianity. When I propose that religious leaders should be the ones to initiate marriages I do not limit this to Christian ministers. A Jewish couple, Muslim couple, or Hindu couple should be able to be married by their respective religious leaders.

      I do also believe that every person, regardless of religious belief (or lack thereof), should have the right to marriage. If an atheist wishes to be married by a Christian minister, so be it. What I propose is that the authority to marry be in the hands of religious institutions. This means that it would be at the discretion of that particular institution who they chose to marry. If a minister refuses to marry a couple who are not a part of his church, that is his right. If a minister chooses to marry gay couples, that is also his right. This would mean that no single religious doctrine would be reflected in national law.

      We must be very careful about allowing any one religious conviction to dominate policy. It can sound very attractive to many of us to establish laws that reflect our personal religious ideals. How will we fell, though, when those with whom we disagree are the majority and wish to turn their doctrine into law. The founders of our country were very wise to separate religion from public policy.

  4. Because you brought in the well know story of the adulteress brought before Jesus, may I bring forth some info to understand that story, to know what our response should be to the gays, before marriage is raised. All sin, so of course no one could throw a stone. But The Law said they must. Their sin was this – where was the man. The Law said both must be stoned. Jesus was ‘set up’. So the first stone to throw was only by the witnesses, but since they were lying to trap Jesus He trapped them by the completeness of The Law. So on to gays – we can tell each one individually about Jesus and that ANY sin is sin. None individually is worse than another. BUT – like ANY sin allowing it to be accepted goes against so many Scriptures we must first remember to hate the sin and the instigators (Satan and his demons) and love the sinner. I got saved because someone loved me into The Kingdom. But pray against the spiritual darkness and ask God what you should do. And we can always say it is not in God’s ways but He loves them. A line in the sand they can cross over, not a wall of hate.

    • Every one of us has the right to define sin however we choose, but it is a dangerous precedent to base law on one group’s definition to the exclusion of others.

  5. Sin is defined by God, not by you or me.

  6. News today about the Baptist church that would not allow a Black couple (predominantly white/Caucasian membership/congregation) to marry in their sanctuary. That is or is that, CRAZY, discriminatory, God’s will, racists, ignorance, ad nauseaum?? So we as a society should stay out of this controversy (believing society is governed)? The church should have full rights to discriminate and disallow some individuals (non-members but consistent attendees) rights that are available to others? These churches that are exempt from contributing any taxes to the community they are assumed to serve. Deeply disappointing and what do we do now, you mention above the Church’s should not have ANY government intervention on any issue.

    I am sickened by “man’s” interpretation of God’s word – the dogma of intolerance absolutely disturbs me to the core of my existence.

    • I agree that this church’s behavior is despicable, and I reject a christianity that looks like this and a god who condones such behavior. I am grateful that there are still many churches (though they are rarely the ones in the spotlight) who would never associate with such bigotry

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