Banning gay marriage--"the most important thing?"

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wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
*Note: I do NOT intend for this to be a political discussion, but a discussion of the moral issue and its impact on our families (which is inevitably tied to the laws enacted within a society)*

Speaking of "Proposition 8" that recently passed last week:

"This is the most important thing on the November 4th ballot," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council. "We've made bad selections as presidents but survived as a nation. But if we move down the path towards the dissolution of marriage we cannot divorce ourselves from the consequences of that."
Is this overstated, or is it right on? Will public/government acceptance of gay "marriage" truly be the undoing of what's left of heterosexual marriage in America, or is the family so far gone in our society that laws can't help one way or the other?

And, is it truly possible to argue convincingly against gay marriage without grounding it in Scripture? Can an unbeliever be convinced by arguments from "natural law" or some such thing? Will a "slippery slope" approach carry any weight, as "once we've gone this far, why not allow two men and a woman, or three women and a sheep?"

I have a friend who's of a libertarian bent, who is railing against the "stupidity" of those who oppose gay marriage on his blog. I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to point out the holes in his thinking...
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
Extremely overstated and shortsighted. Sadly, there is too much work that needs to be done on heterosexual marriage and the family as it stands and Family Research Council and Focus on the Family are NOT living up to their names. If gay "marriage" will undo heterosexual aka "traditional" marriage then marriage as an institution is in a lot of trouble. I am annoyed that the focus is not on fixing an existing institution which could bloody well use some help staying on track. Disclaimer: I am aware many churches DO the things I am mentioning and DO truly focus on families but there are too many churches out there who do not. :(

Some questions for Mr. Perkins and Mr. Dobson: How are you researching and focusing on the family exactly? Here are some scenarios to consider: Where are the seasoned veterans who take newly married couples under their wing and help them through the challenges? Where are the people who lovingly walk alongside a family of two who can't have kids? How is this family enfolded into the church "family" without judgment? Where is the church when a family has a special needs child? Where is the church family when a couple is in crisis (financial, spiritual, personal, medical)? Where is the church family when a family member is mentally ill? Where is the church family for the widower or divorced persons? Where are the resources to assist pastors and elders/deacons to help these folks? How do Mr. Dobson and Mr. Perkins propose to help the family who has a parent or child with a long term terminal illness (Huntingtons disease or ALS) handle the outcome without falling apart? Until these guys can answer these questions without talking points, pablum and psychobabble, they need to shut up about the sodomites. :2cents:
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
A general point, not political. What good does it do with states passing their own marriage definitions when your next president promises a federal law legalising gay 'marriage'?

I'm not American, so I don't understand this, but will the federal law trump everything at state level and only leave the federal courts system? What is 'higher' than a federal law?
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
Our next president is against a federal law regarding gay marriage. He said it is up to the states to decide. It was a pretty good thing that our very liberal state of CA was still able to pass a law prohibiting gay marriage. But I think it is only a matter of time before it will pass.
 

Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
To make a defence without the Bible is challenging, but not impossible. I talk about the psychological aspects of gay 'love'. I ask them if men and women give and recieve 'love' the same way. (Usually I get a 'no' or 'I don't know' answer) I would then say that yes, men and women give and recieve love differently. A women gives 'love' in a way that a man recieves. And a man gives 'love' in a way that a woman recieves. Then I usually ask, when two men get into a relationship, are they capable of giving and recieving 'love' in the way that will make a relationship work? To which the answer is no. This usually opens up the people I am talking to about the inherant problems in gay 'love' because they won't find what they are looking for in a relationship, and this leads to the two top causes of death in the gay community, suicide, and death at the hands of one's partner. (according to the AMA, although this information is hard to find anymore as the gay agenda is being pushed)

Another tack that I sometimes take is in the definition of marriage. You have to have sex to make marriage 'official', ie, consumate the marriage. Gay people can't have sex, only mutual genital stimulation, so therefore, it is impossible to be married.

You could also talk about how the push for gay marriage isn't really about marriage, but acceptance of their lifestyle.

One of the aspects of gay marriage bans is also to protect children from the homosexuals. Look at what happened to the Catholic Church. It's not a pedophile problem as the press says, but a homosexual problem.

There are a lot of reasons why banning gay marriage is important to a society, and why it's been banned in societies. We need to get the laws banning it back on the books, because what a person does in the privacy of their bedrooms does affect everybody else.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Assuming that the proposition will stand and will be effective, Perkins may have a point that it was the most important issue on the ballot. But if I'm not mistaken it could be reversed at some later date. It passed by a razor thin margin, so if the culture does not turn away from humanism it's only a matter of time before this vote falls by the wayside.
 

wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
Your points are well taken, but I have a few counterpoints that I think the defenders would bring up (or have brought up with me before).

To get back to the OP, I have used the followinig. To make a defence without the Bible is challenging, but not impossible. I talk about the psychological aspects of gay 'love'. I ask them if men and women give and recieve 'love' the same way. (Usually I get a 'no' or 'I don't know' answer) I would then say that yes, men and women give and recieve love differently. A women gives 'love' in a way that a man recieves. And a man gives 'love' in a way that a woman recieves. Then I usually ask, when two men get into a relationship, are they capable of giving and recieving 'love' in the way that will make a relationship work? To which the answer is no.
I'd heard this line of reasoning before, but often it gets lost in nebulous responses about "well, research doesn't fully understand the needs of men and women, or the gay brain, etc. etc. etc." Smoke and mirrors, no doubt. The real head-spinner is when people argue against the definition of "man" and "woman," since your "gender identity" is more legitimate in some circles than your anatomy.

This usually opens up the people I am talking to about the inherant problems in gay 'love' because they won't find what they are looking for in a relationship, and this leads to the two top causes of death in the gay community, suicide, and death at the hands of one's partner. (according to the AMA, although this information is hard to find anymore as the gay agenda is being pushed)
I'd heard the AMA stat about suicide before, but does the AMA say the causes of suicide are bound up in failing to fulfill a relationship properly? I've also heard the counter-point that gays have high suicide rates because nobody accepts them, they feel ashamed and unwanted, etc. etc.

Another tack that I sometimes take is in the definition of marriage. You have to have sex to make marriage 'official', ie, consumate the marriage. Gay people can't have sex, only mutual genital stimulation, so therefore, it is impossible to be married.
Can people in wheelchairs not be married either? Some heterosexual couples cannot have sex in the ordinary sense, either.

You could also talk about how the push for gay marriage isn't really about marriage, but acceptance of their lifestyle.
This I agree with 100%. Gays can already live together, usually can adopt children at least through public agencies, and some companies offer insurance benefits for "partners" however defined. So the "rights" denied gay couples really don't seem to carry any weight. So you're right--it's acceptance and recognition, not tolerance or rights, that they're seeking.

One of the aspects of gay marriage bans is also to protect children from the homosexuals. Look at what happened to the Catholic Church. It's not a pedophile problem as the press says, but a homosexual problem.

There are a lot of reasons why banning gay marriage is important to a society, and why it's been banned in societies. We need to get the laws banning it back on the books, because what a person does in the privacy of their bedrooms does affect everybody else.
Back to the OP...can laws on the books actually stem the tide, when a culture or society is already at the point where such things as the defintion of marriage (or of "man" and "woman" for that matter) are actually being questioned? And who decides what to ban "in the bedroom?"

I tend not to worry terribly when laws allowing/banning things like this are passed, repealed, and passed again--I worry sometimes more that power is being usurped by politicians or courts than about the particular topic they're fighting over. Laws may restrain evil in society but not in the hearts of men, and it seems inevitable that evil hearts will eventually find ways around the laws designed to restrain them. I think "no fault divorce" laws and the general disdain for marriage in our culture is far more dangerous to traditional marriage than whether the gay people up the street have a piece of paper from the courthouse.

Thoughts?
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think "no fault divorce" laws and the general disdain for marriage in our culture is far more dangerous to traditional marriage than whether the gay people up the street have a piece of paper from the courthouse.

Thoughts?
Yes and the amount of Christians that are divorced does not help either. Nor do the loveless husbands and disrespectful wives in many marriages.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
I think "no fault divorce" laws and the general disdain for marriage in our culture is far more dangerous to traditional marriage than whether the gay people up the street have a piece of paper from the courthouse.

Thoughts?
Yes and the amount of Christians that are divorced does not help either. Nor do the loveless husbands and disrespectful wives in many marriages.
I agree. It's definitely not helpful for Christians to decry immorality in the culture when apparently it exists to much the same extent in the visible church.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My fear is that many Christians think such legislation is the means of salvation; some tangible victory that shows us that we (God?) have won.

That is not to oppose such legislation but the law cannot ultimately suppress the fallen nature only curb it. Christians above all should know this. And so we should pray more than we lobby.
 

wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
What do you all see as the eventual outcome if gay marriages are allowed by law, and eventually become legal thoughout the land (it may be a matter of time before the Supreme Court overrules the will of the states in one fell swoop--gee, that has't happened before, has it?).

I guess I see that marriage as a whole will continue to decline, albeit perhaps at a more rapid rate. Having won court mandated acceptance, I don't see "marriage" becoming the norm among all that many gay people, once the novelty has worn off and it no longer makes the news. I guess I see the day coming where our society no longer officially recognizes any family unit or interpersonal relationships--if you want a ceremony and want to call yourselves married, fine, but there will no longer be any laws that specifically are directed at married couples (i.e. different tax rates, etc.) Part of the reason I see that trend accelerating is that, once gender is no longer part of the marriage definition, there is no ground at all by which laws can deny polygamy (number is arbitrary), brother-sister marriages, or "polyamory."

I believe this is the trend in some European countries--I've at least read things to that effect. I've also heard of civil arrangements that are really little more than contracts set with specific, renewable periods. Something like leasing a car. Whether that's strictly true or not, I can't say, but it seems a logical conclusion to the dissoltion of marriage we're seeing now (and have been for a while).

Does anyone see it turning out differently? Will any legal measures help to slow it down or reverse it? Should we focus exclusively on changing people's thinking from the ground up, rather than enforcing it from the top down?
 

Matthias

Puritan Board Junior
My fear is that many Christians think such legislation is the means of salvation; some tangible victory that shows us that we (God?) have won.

That is not to oppose such legislation but the law cannot ultimately suppress the fallen nature only curb it. Christians above all should know this. And so we should pray more than we lobby.
Absolutley!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Remember the purpose of the law:

1) To restrain evil
2) To point people to their need of Christ
3) To show a rule for life
 

wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
Remember the purpose of the law:

1) To restrain evil
2) To point people to their need of Christ
3) To show a rule for life
The purpose of the law revealed in Scripture--but is this necessarily the purpose of the civil law?
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
Osama Bin Ladin has been calling on Americans to "reject the immoral acts of fornication (and) homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury," in an October 2002 letter.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
wturri78;

The purpose of the law revealed in Scripture--but is this necessarily the purpose of the civil law?
That is the bases of many of the laws we have..

Thou shalt not murder
Thou shalt not steal
Lying (perjury)

They used to have adultery laws on the books, and bearing false witness (slander) I think still is in most states.

http://www.expertlaw.com/library/personal_injury/defamation.html

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/grossman/20031216.html

So yes, that would be the same as they are based on Scripture.
 

Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
Hi wturri78! Yeah, I've heard those arguments a thousand times over, although I've never run into the gender identity one. :lol: I can't wait till it does. For example the nobody likes them, feels unwanted argument about the AMA stats, I would say isn't that what they are supposed to be getting from their mates? hmmm. Wheel chair people can have sex too! If something happens after they have been married, that does not negate a marriage, but sex is a part of marriage.

When I run into people that offer these up, I know I'm talking to somebody who doesn't care about gay people, but have a vested interest (usually somebody in their family is gay, and they've deluded themselves that it's O.K. Or they are gay themselves.) But I usually use the stuff I said to get a discussion rolling with people who do care. (Yes, I can play off of a liberal's care for people). By debunking the perceived ideal of a gay couple and getting into what it really is like, they usually are more open to the idea that gay=bad. And that is all I try to do.

The general disdain for marriage in our culture stems from the gay agenda in part. So that is a good reason to not have it. The attempts at making gay marriage legal tears down the real meaning of marriage and it's worth. It's not to make gay people happy.
 

wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
wturri78;

The purpose of the law revealed in Scripture--but is this necessarily the purpose of the civil law?
That is the bases of many of the laws we have..

Thou shalt not murder
Thou shalt not steal
Lying (perjury)

They used to have adultery laws on the books, and bearing false witness (slander) I think still is in most states.

Defamation, Libel and Slander Law

FindLaw's Writ - Grossman: Punishing Adultery in Virginia

So yes, that would be the same as they are based on Scripture.

Thanks, this is helpful to think about! The usual line I hear from more liberally-minded people is "it should be legal as long as it isn't hurting anyone else." Yet somehow adultery isn't covered under that? If I break any other contract, I can get sued and lost my shirt. If I break my covenant with my wife--well, I guess that's just another day in America. Brad Pitt did it too, what do you expect? We're only human.

I guess if a society's laws are based only on what is "self evident," then it's going to vary over time as things become more or less evident. It's pretty self evident to me that men shouldn't marry each other--no research or expert opinions required. An unborn person is still a person--I really don't need a panel of medical experts to confirm that. To even question these is absurd, and yet they're less self-evident to more and more people all the time.

How do you maintain a system of law based on "self evident truths" in a society that largely doesn't accept the concept of truth itself anymore? OK, enough ramblings!

I think the gist of this thread so far is that laws restraining social evil, including gay marriage, need to be kept or restored. But Christians need to realize that people's hearts can't be restrained from the top down. As one poster said, we need to spend less time lobbying and more time praying. Amen!

And I still think the Family Research Council quote on Proposition 8 was overstated, although I agree with his general point, which I think is something like "If the fabric that holds civilization together unravels, then things like economy or foreign policy really don't count for much because it's only a matter of time until that society collapses on itself."
 

J. David Kear

Puritan Board Freshman
My opinion is that the state does not rightly have the authority to ban or sanction a marriage of any kind. Marriage is a distinctly Christian covenant. Unfortunately the church has allowed the state to usurp her authority over this Christian institution. It is much more important at this stage for the state to get its claws out of marriage altogether and for the Church to take up her responsible governance of it.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
Actually marriage belongs to all as it is part of creation. I'm not sure where the idea that marriage is a "distinctly Christian covenant" comes from. I wonder if it's a hold-over from the Romish idea that marriage is a sacrament. Regardless, the implication is still the same: those who marry when they aren't in the covenant aren't really married, and Christians who are married by the magistrate aren't married either (or at least their marriage is irregular).
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Actually marriage belongs to all as it is part of creation. I'm not sure where the idea that marriage is a "distinctly Christian covenant" comes from. I wonder if it's a hold-over from the Romish idea that marriage is a sacrament. Regardless, the implication is still the same: those who marry when they aren't in the covenant aren't really married, and Christians who are married by the magistrate aren't married either (or at least their marriage is irregular).
Yes, it's a creation ordinance, isn't it? Check out this: https://www.cbmw.org/images/jbmw_pdf/8_1/sermon.pdf?virtuemart=61c7867a0a309318ba3016a9b4dd30ae

You're also right about the Romish "sacrament." I was taught that a Catholic who is married by a Protestant minister or a JP isn't really married and so (if that marriage doesn't work out), they can simply get their civil divorce and marry "again" in the RCC, with a priest officiating. No need for an annulment. A close family member actually acted on that assumption...

Now, though, I don't think they can get away with it. Catholic weddings are, I understand, sometimes "concelebrated" by not only ministers but also rabbis, shamans, Buddhist priests, etc.

:eek:

Whatever floats people's boats. Words don't mean things, not even the word "marriage."

Margaret
 

Spinningplates2

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a friend who's of a libertarian bent, who is railing against the "stupidity" of those who oppose gay marriage on his blog. I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to point out the holes in his thinking...
What is your friend against? What does he think we would not on a slippery slope if people of the same sex are allowed be wed? Does he think that Christians should only be focused on other issues, such as Abortion? In history didn't Christians speak out against evil when possible?

Let us hope we do not all end up like John the Baptist when we speak the truth about marriage.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
*Note: I do NOT intend for this to be a political discussion, but a discussion of the moral issue and its impact on our families (which is inevitably tied to the laws enacted within a society)*

Speaking of "Proposition 8" that recently passed last week:

"This is the most important thing on the November 4th ballot," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council. "We've made bad selections as presidents but survived as a nation. But if we move down the path towards the dissolution of marriage we cannot divorce ourselves from the consequences of that."
Is this overstated, or is it right on? Will public/government acceptance of gay "marriage" truly be the undoing of what's left of heterosexual marriage in America, or is the family so far gone in our society that laws can't help one way or the other?

And, is it truly possible to argue convincingly against gay marriage without grounding it in Scripture? Can an unbeliever be convinced by arguments from "natural law" or some such thing? Will a "slippery slope" approach carry any weight, as "once we've gone this far, why not allow two men and a woman, or three women and a sheep?"

I have a friend who's of a libertarian bent, who is railing against the "stupidity" of those who oppose gay marriage on his blog. I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to point out the holes in his thinking...
OK...don't stone me, but I am a libertarian. eeeke. I'm not a part of the American Libertarian Party, b/c they have a pro-abortion stance on their official platform, but I am personally libertarian.
I think that the most righteous civil government is one that is primarily concerned with affording all of its citizens the right to exist how they see fit, as long as those beliefs and actions do not interfere with their neighbors identical right to exist as he sees fit.

To pause the objections, Libertarianism is NOT anarchy: murderers would be punished, b/c by murdering someone, you are taking away their right to live. Abortion would be illegal, b/c you are stripping the baby of his right to live. (And who is more fatherless and motherless than a to-be-aborted baby??) Stealing, takes away someone else's right to have private property...
Get it?

As far as the marriage issue goes, allowing gay marriage COULD (but may not) take away some of the rights of citizens by forcing employers to pay for benefits that they deem immoral. It COULD force churches to marry homosexuals. It COULD force adoption agencies to adopt out to gay couples. And so on...

However, I don't think disallowing gay marriage would really take away any of their rights, b/c they still have the right to live as they see fit: in relationship with the person of their choosing. Marriage itself is not a right, in my opinion.
(For what it's worth, I actually believe that the gov't has no business being involved in marriage at all--but since they are involved, I do believe that the gov't is allowed to make certain stipulations about its institutions, as long as you can choose not to join said institution.)

If you are asking for the government's endorsement of your relationship then I feel that you are obligated to meet whatever it requires. We accept age requirements, quantity requirements (two people per marriage), etc. If we want to use the gov't schools, we accept stipulations all the time: what school you can go to, what clothes you can wear, etc.
If people accept gov't welfare, they must meet the requirements. This is nothing new, and by not allowing a rich person food stamps, the gov't is not taking away said rich person's rights (though it may have taken away his rights by stealing his income to pay for the stamps, but that's another debate).

To marry my husband, I had to agree to wait X amount of days between signing the certificate and marrying him. I could have said, "Forget it, this rule is stupid," and married him just via the church--except I don't know if my brother-in-law (an RP pastor) would have allowed it, so I would have had to find a church that didn't listen to the gov't--but my point is, I could have married my husband, just not civilly. But to do it civilly, I had to obey the gov't. I think that is reasonable, since a gov't marriage is not mandatory, nor is it necessary to be in a relationship.


Remember the purpose of the law:

1) To restrain evil
2) To point people to their need of Christ
3) To show a rule for life
The purpose of the law revealed in Scripture--but is this necessarily the purpose of the civil law?
My question as well.

My opinion is that the state does not rightly have the authority to ban or sanction a marriage of any kind. Marriage is a distinctly Christian covenant. Unfortunately the church has allowed the state to usurp her authority over this Christian institution. It is much more important at this stage for the state to get its claws out of marriage altogether and for the Church to take up her responsible governance of it.
I agree that the gov't has no place in marriage, but I don't see it as a primarily xian covenant.

Actually marriage belongs to all as it is part of creation. I'm not sure where the idea that marriage is a "distinctly Christian covenant" comes from. I wonder if it's a hold-over from the Romish idea that marriage is a sacrament. Regardless, the implication is still the same: those who marry when they aren't in the covenant aren't really married, and Christians who are married by the magistrate aren't married either (or at least their marriage is irregular).

I agree with you. However, I still think that the gov't does not need to be involved. Who has authority over my marriage? The Church. If I wrong my husband, we will not look to the gov't to discipline me, but to the church.
As for those that are churchless, well, they can get married by whoever will marry them, some churches or some other civic group.

Sorry if this is convoluted. Even when the babies are asleep for the night, I tend to rush through everything, expecting to be called away by crying at any moment : )
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Remember the purpose of the law:

1) To restrain evil
2) To point people to their need of Christ
3) To show a rule for life
The purpose of the law revealed in Scripture--but is this necessarily the purpose of the civil law?
Bill,

Scott is citing the traditional three uses of the Law in Reformed theology. The first use is the civil use: restraining evil by civil sanctions.

Cheers,
 

davidsuggs

Puritan Board Freshman
It is not the state's job to even be capable of defining a marriage at all. Ultimately, this is the church's fault for retreating under the pressure of the federal gov't, liberalism, and all the varieties of modern higher criticism from the attempt to gain secular respectability.
 

wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
OK...don't stone me, but I am a libertarian. eeeke. I'm not a part of the American Libertarian Party, b/c they have a pro-abortion stance on their official platform, but I am personally libertarian.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply, even if rushed by crying babies (real or imagined :lol:). I agree that the pro-choice position of this particular party is a gross inconsistency. Their platform weasles out of the issue by calling it "a complicated matter." That seems to be a way for people of all stripes to get around it.

I think that the most righteous civil government is one that is primarily concerned with affording all of its citizens the right to exist how they see fit, as long as those beliefs and actions do not interfere with their neighbors identical right to exist as he sees fit.

To pause the objections, Libertarianism is NOT anarchy: murderers would be punished, b/c by murdering someone, you are taking away their right to live. Abortion would be illegal, b/c you are stripping the baby of his right to live. (And who is more fatherless and motherless than a to-be-aborted baby??) Stealing, takes away someone else's right to have private property...
Get it?.
Got it!...I notice, though, that most libertarians tend to define rights at the level of the individual, and not at the level of the family. Thus the basic unit of society is the individual, which I believe is already contrary to a Biblical worldview--so presuppositions abound, even at this basic level. But still, when a government begins to legislate in personal affairs, the slope leans toward totalitarianism. I suppose if you go too far in the direction of liberty, you do hit anarchy. Where to draw the line is decided by what a society deems sacred--this obviously changes over time, particularly when appealing to those things which are "self evident."

As far as the marriage issue goes, allowing gay marriage COULD (but may not) take away some of the rights of citizens by forcing employers to pay for benefits that they deem immoral. It COULD force churches to marry homosexuals. It COULD force adoption agencies to adopt out to gay couples. And so on...

However, I don't think disallowing gay marriage would really take away any of their rights, b/c they still have the right to live as they see fit: in relationship with the person of their choosing. Marriage itself is not a right, in my opinion.
I agree here, I think (still figuring it out myself, obviously!). Referring to some earlier posts, the gay movement is not seeking equality or rights, but acceptance in society, even if this acceptance must come through law and the courts (and schools!)

(For what it's worth, I actually believe that the gov't has no business being involved in marriage at all--but since they are involved, I do believe that the gov't is allowed to make certain stipulations about its institutions, as long as you can choose not to join said institution.)

If you are asking for the government's endorsement of your relationship then I feel that you are obligated to meet whatever it requires. We accept age requirements, quantity requirements (two people per marriage), etc. If we want to use the gov't schools, we accept stipulations all the time: what school you can go to, what clothes you can wear, etc.
If people accept gov't welfare, they must meet the requirements. This is nothing new, and by not allowing a rich person food stamps, the gov't is not taking away said rich person's rights (though it may have taken away his rights by stealing his income to pay for the stamps, but that's another debate).
Absolutely, when you accept money from anyone you obligate yourself to some sort of terms. The terms just pile up when it comes from the government. But to raise an earlier point, doesn't it become necessary somewhere to define the basic unit of society which has to be protected by law? If any law applies to a family, then a "family" must be defined, which immediately brings the presuppositions back into the picture.

To marry my husband, I had to agree to wait X amount of days between signing the certificate and marrying him. I could have said, "Forget it, this rule is stupid," and married him just via the church--except I don't know if my brother-in-law (an RP pastor) would have allowed it, so I would have had to find a church that didn't listen to the gov't--but my point is, I could have married my husband, just not civilly. But to do it civilly, I had to obey the gov't. I think that is reasonable, since a gov't marriage is not mandatory, nor is it necessary to be in a relationship.
Even in a libertarian system, there has to be some basis for defining what rights people have, i.e. personal property, life, health, etc. Private property rights weren't self-evident to monarchs. Government by consent of the governed wasn't self-evident to royal families. That a human fetus is human is about as self-evident as it gets, except for the basic fact that men should not marry other men. So, while I agree with a very small and limited government that stays out of people's affairs, the problem I have with libertarianism as a system is that its grounds for determining people's liberties become, at some point, arbitrary and subject to change.

I don't know whether a civil society can function if the government does not protect the families living within its borders, and that requires a definition of a family to be recognized by the government.

Banning gay marriage will not redeem this or any other country, but allowing them does seem to signal the last nail in the coffin for any publicly recognized status of a family. :(
 

J. David Kear

Puritan Board Freshman
Actually marriage belongs to all as it is part of creation. I'm not sure where the idea that marriage is a "distinctly Christian covenant" comes from. I wonder if it's a hold-over from the Romish idea that marriage is a sacrament.
The fact that marriage is a creation ordinance is exactly what makes it distinctly Christian. It was ordained by the Christian God at creation. I said nothing about marriage being a sacrament.

The fundamental question for me is not who may participate in the ordinance but who governs the ordinance. I realize that there are many who believe that the creation ordinances are to be governed by the state. I am not one of those people. If it is true that the state that has jurisdiction in marriage then pastors should stop officiating them. I don't believe that is true. My opinion is that the state has no authority to govern the ordinance that God established.
 
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