The naming of a thing is important.
What is in a name?
The promise of character and the hope of destiny.
I believe that every living person has the right (a God-given right from creation to the end of time) to choose how they live their life. That is a deep belief that is upheld by my reading of the scriptures and God’s constant entreaty to His people that we CHOOSE Him. His desire that people make life-giving choices during our time here on earth.
By the same token, I also believe deeply that there is an order to creation. That there is a purpose for creation. It is not by chance that any given man and woman can have a good possibility of procreating while no combination of man/man or woman/woman can naturally produce a child.
Now that’s not to say that marriage is only for the purpose of having children, but this example is illustrative proof of the natural order and intent of creation.
“Marriage” is a spiritual concept that is the foundation for family, community and society. “Marriage” is a covenant between God, man and woman. “Marriage” is a relationship in the physical that represents our spiritual relationship with our Creator. It’s an institution God created with the instruction to the man and woman to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. As with all things, this you have to believe to even begin to understand.
equality: the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability; uniform character
“Equality” is a legal term. This is where the arguments for and against “marriage equality” become convoluted. People are attempting to reconcile a term that embodies legalism in world society with a spiritual term that predates any world order.
Marriage ≠ Equality
Marriage was not created to be an equal institution. Nor was it created for equal individuals. Marriage was created to be a joining of two people into one unit. And that, my friends is something only God can do. There is no equality in the Bible. We have not equally received characteristics that will determine how well we navigate this world. God breathed His Spirit into us, but we each have varying measures of faith, joy, hope, understanding, knowledge, patience and love. The role of the Spirit is to take us through our worldly challenges in a way that will build our character and keep us on track to fulfill our destiny. The role of government is to level the field of access so people can be active, contributing citizens in society.
Some people say that this is not a “religious” argument. Folks are citing the many different faith-belief systems in America and suggesting that Christians are imposing our will on the rest of America. I, personally, feel as if the rest of America is imposing its will on me, but that’s another post. Regarding other faiths, I have not come across any creation story that involves only two men or two women – please share if you know of any. The sanctity of marriage is a concept many hold. People are arguing that God has nothing to do with our government because of the separation of church and state. To those people, I ask: What principles do you think the American government is based on? You can trace western superpowers back throughout history and you will find that they all have built upon the foundation of Biblical principles.
A society may seek to redefine marriage, but a society cannot recreate marriage in its own image. We are created beings that come to a better understanding of who we are when we look to our Creator rather than focus solely on ourselves and our own desires.
We really need to know what we are talking about and what we are claiming. Most of the arguments for “marriage equality” amount to entitlement claims from citizens of a prosperous democratic nation (i.e. America): I have the right…, I deserve…, I want…, I was born this way…, etc. No one is “entitled” to marriage. The Constitution doesn’t guarantee any citizen “marriage”. If it did, I would be filing a suit against the United States of America for withholding my husband for these many years. Acting as if marriage is an equal human right the government is obligated to make provision for is a disservice to people actually suffering human rights atrocities. It’s a disservice to men and women who enter the bonds of matrimony with the hope and expectation that their commitment to honor and serve one another is an expression of honor and service to God and their faith community.
By any other name…
On the flip side, I would probably have little or nothing to say on this topic if it was called something other than “marriage equality” or if “marriage” was not part of the naming. As a citizen of the United States, I think that same sex couples who legalize their relationship (register with a governmental agency for legally recognize status) should have the legal right to identify their life partner and have their relationship legally recognized wherever they choose to live. These legally recognized same sex couples should have access to all the legal benefits and responsibilities that pertain to legal relationships in the United States. Here, I’m talking about family planning, succession, property ownership, inheritance, death benefits, responsibility to provide care and protection to family members, healthcare choices, etc. All this can be obtained without legally calling a long-term same sex relationship “marriage”. Such a relationship is not a marriage. It’s simply a different type of relationship. And I suspect from the perspective of same sex couples, different is better. After all, if same sex couples truly wanted equality in marriage, they would marry people of the opposite sex. (Tongue in cheek moment….)
So, I’m questioning why the push to call same sex committed relationships “marriage”? If same sex couples are already forging their own way to a lifetime commitment, why not name their relationship in a unique way to express what they hope to achieve with their commitment? Why insist on calling it “marriage” if their relationship is by nature the antithesis of what marriage was created to be?