WASHINGTON – Last week, a three judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. In making their decision, they determined the federal law defining marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman discriminated against homosexuals.
The court is simply wrong. The Defense of Marriage Act is not discriminatory. There is no “right to marry” in this country. If a “right to marry” existed, then anyone who wanted to marry anyone else, regardless of gender, family relationship, or anything else would have the right to marry. After all, if homosexuals are discriminated against by our nation’s definition of marriage, then why can’t others make the same claim? Brothers and sisters could argue they have the same “right to marry” each other by claiming they aren’t attracted to anyone else. Yet, even most same-sex marriage advocates don’t believe the right they claim for themselves extends to incestuous or polygamous relationships.
Now, please understand, my opposition to same-sex marriage is not about hatred of homosexuals. There is no room in the Christian faith, or any other faith for that matter, for hatred of people. Hatred of others is wrong, period. But neither is it loving for me to condone or normalize inappropriate and harmful behavior for the sake of affirming the person. I should not do that for people who engage in same-sex sexual behavior any more than I do that for people who engage in adultery, theft or myriad other activities.
My opposition to same-sex marriage derives from my commitment to the Bible and to children. The Bible offers very clear guidance. In Genesis, we are told that God saw the man in his loneliness and decided to create a person who could complement him. He chose to create a woman for this. And the gender was not irrelevant. God makes it quite clear in Scripture that homosexual behavior, among many other behaviors, is sinful. Jesus affirmed God’s design for marriage when He declared, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother,” and the two, man and woman, “shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7).
For children, same-sex marriage does not offer the best environment in which to grow up. I’m not saying that same-sex couples cannot be good parents. But it is clear that same-sex marriages are not equivalent to heterosexual marriages in terms of what they offer children. The best environment for children is a mother and father in their home who love each other and their children. In this environment children benefit from watching both sexes interact with each other and with them. They learn something different from each. As a result, they can better interact with both sexes in society and with their spouses in their own marriages.
Friends, same-sex marriage is wrong. Redefining marriage to include it will not change that. All it will really do is confuse children, further break down our culture’s commitment to providing the best possible environment for children, and normalize a behavior that is destructive to so many of those who engage in it.
Our country should be incentivizing those things that are in our best interest. Marriage law does that by recognizing only one acceptable form of marriage – that which provides children with the best possible environment in which to grow into well-adjusted, fully engaged members of society. I hope you will let your elected representatives know that you will not tolerate any change in our country’s definition of marriage. The Second Circuit got this issue wrong. Our president got this issue wrong. God got it right, because it is, after all, His creation. May we remain on God’s side on this crucial, defining issue.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Barrett Duke is vice president for public policy and research of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.)