So, tomorrow, Wisconsin’s voters will decide on a constitutional amendment about marriage. Even though I’m officially a California resident and can’t vote in Wisconsin, I’ve been thinking/reading/praying a lot about the whole issue…so, these are just a few thoughts based on the debate. I was going to write in a more organized fashion, but I got caught up in a few too many heated debates on the topic and just don’t feel like arguing anymore. If you have any thoughts/disagreements, please feel free to chime in and express your opinion!
“Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?”
Small note: The clause that marriage will be defined as between a man and a woman, instead of between a husband and a wife, is typically referred to as the “first” part of the amendment. The second, therefore, refers to the clause that will deny any legal status resembling marriage in any real way to unmarried individuals (denying domestic partnership, civil unions, etc.).
My main thoughts:
How is the sanctity of marriage best preserved and promoted?
It seems like the best place to argue for the sacred nature of marriage is in the church. Many Christians (like 47%) do not treat marriage as a sacred institution. The church should promote and demonstrate healthy marriages between a man and a woman.
Who benefits if the amendment is passed?
The sanctity of marriage is not increased by passing this amendment. I don’t believe that there is anything in this amendment that will cause heterosexual couples to take marriage any more seriously than they do now. No real change in the law will occur with the passage of this amendment that couldn’t have been done by a piece of legislation defining husband and wife as man and woman (the first part of the amendment, which is a small modification to current law and practice), without including the second part of the amendment which is more drastic.
Who is hurt if the amendment is passed?
Because of the second clause in this amendment, monogamous unmarried people (whether heterosexual or homosexual) people are hurt. They lose the opportunity for equality as human beings, both legally and socially. Rights to play a role in important decisions in life or death issues are at risk for any unmarried couple.
I also believe that the church is hurt if this amendment is passed. Many people have been watching closely as the church allows this issue to be at the forefront in congregations. If this issue is passed, victory will be declared in many churches, to the detriment to those excluded from society and churches. People who the church should be actively reaching out to will recoil in distrust at an institution that is so bent on denying legal rights rooted in equality to a large segment of society.
What I am NOT saying by my thoughts on the amendment
I am not saying that I agree with homosexuality.
I am not saying that churches should allow homosexual marriage.
I am not saying that the church does not have a role as a prophetic voice of morality in our culture
I am not saying that I do not believe that the sacred should be separated from the secular (private vs. public morality).
What I AM saying by my thoughts on the amendment
I am saying that this amendment does not preserve, support, or promote the sanctity of marriage in any effective manner.
I am saying that marriage is an institution ordained by God through the church, and should be preserved, supported, and promoted by the people of God both inside and outside of the church walls.
I am saying that the Church needs to work at ushering in the Kingdom of God, but NOT at the expense of those who do not hold to a traditional Christian and Biblical worldview. The ends do NOT justify the means.
I am saying that this amendment will either speak a message of love or a message of judgment on a large section of unchurched society.
So…we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I just ask that Christians thoughtfully and prayerfully reflect on both sides of the issue.