Brokenhearted Theology, Future, Ramblings, Relational

Smart or Fair? Wisconsin’s Marriage Amendment

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. 

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5 thoughts on “Smart or Fair? Wisconsin’s Marriage Amendment

  1. Good thoughts, hon. Just one thing to add.

    I think sometimes as Christians we get confused about our purpose on earth. Sometimes we think our job is to make people moral, rather than to help them understand the grace of God.

    It is not our job to legislate morality. Making the world more moral accomplishes little, other than making us more comfortable in it (other than, of course, the many moral issues that affect the larger population).

    I believe that legislating morality will not bring anyone closer to God. God does not want a bunch of moral non-Christians, He wants sinners who realize that they are broken and accept His grace.

    Making homosexual unions illegal will not help homosexual people understand God’s grace and love for them.

    That said, I know it is a complicated issue and would love to hear more dialogue on it.

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  2. I’m so thankful that you took time to reflect and write on this.I’m sure God concerns about it so much for it must be hurting Him terribly,and He desires us(Christians)to pray and take more steps on it.I’d love to pray about it with you too.

    I didn’t know much about the amendment before,but I agree with you both.

    I know many gay people (some in my apartment,and one of them calls me Ms.Jesus:)who are so gifted and talented,many of them have very sharp characters and qualities I like in men,and I feel like they have a very strong touch with their senses or…Yes,there’re are a lot of great things I know about them,but also there’re many things make me feel sad about/for them.
    But my biggest thought and concern on this is that how God must be angry at Satan for “messing” His children into this sin…How can I be excited about going to see their “parade” when they are the men God created for some beautiful women and enjoy their beauty,and He desired to rejoice with them at their wedding and to see their children? How can I be not sad to see women who have abondened/ignored/rejected their God given gifts/beauty? I understand that it must be not easy for them to get out or overcome this battle and boundage(and I know they avoid Christians:),but that’s why they need us,they need our help,…and I’m sure God will gladly help us…

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  3. Krissy, you know that I agree with you, so I won’t write too much more than that 😉

    Altantos,

    Thanks so much for sharing you thoughts/experience (on this post and others)! If I remember correctly, you’re in the San Francisco area? There is definitely a different culture here in California than in many places in the USA, including Wisconsin. I feel many of the same things that you expressed about your neighbors and friends here in Los Angeles – there is so much beauty/creativity/kindness/love to be found in different sub-cultures of the population. Sharing Christ with these populations/subcultures/people takes on a new meaning and challenge. Thanks for your insight!

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  4. Peter Carino says:

    Dave,
    Interesting take on all of this. I agree that if churches are actively promoting the passage of this amendment then there is the potential for blowback. This is because to political correctness, not because of the right or wrong of same-sex marriage. I don’t like the “defense of marriage” stuff much myself. I think it is a scare tactic to get people to vote. You are correct that the passing the law will not defend marriage, but is that really the point? I believe that the real point of the bill is to delegitimize same-sex marriage. That end would be accomplished. The bill would defend marriage in one sense: by creating a definition of marriage you are able to say that only this thing is marriage and carries the benefits and responsibilities. As an example, if same-sex marriage is legalized what is to say that other forms of marriage should not be allowed, e.g. why can’t three people be married? Why couldn’t a man have a number of wives? The point here is that when we open the discussion of what constitutes a marriage then all voices must be heard.

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  5. Pete,

    Thanks for the thoughts. I agree that much of the importance of the amendment was placed on the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. One of my main frustrations is that the second portion of the amendment, denying any kind of civil unions/ partnerships/legal benefits, was thrown in with the first clause, the definition. Many people felt strongly about the first part, but the second part was just kind of thrown in…

    So…yeah…sticky issue…lots of debate…good times…

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