The DOMA Dilemma

On Wednesday, June 26, the Supreme Court made two rulings on marriage that will profoundly impact our culture. First, they dismissed Proposition 8 for lack of legal standing and sent it back to the State of California for further review. Second, they reversed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and now offer full federal benefits to same sex couples.

Writing the Majority Opinion for United States v. Windsor, Justice Kennedy said DOMA “demeans” same sex couples and “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same sex couples.” He implies that any opposition to same-sex marriage is rooted in animus or hatred.

This poses a real problem for Christians. We are not out to “hate” or “humiliate” anyone. Yet the Bible stipulates that marriage is created by God as a permanent union between one man and one woman:

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

(See also Gen. 1:27; Ps. 128:3-4; Mt. 19:4-9; Heb. 13:4)

Furthermore, the Bible says that even the slightest drift away from God’s law is “sin”:

James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

Thus, any departure from God’s holy standard of monogamous, heterosexual marriage is sin. This includes fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bisexuality, incest, polygamy, polyamory, bestiality, etc.

So here’s the dilemma. In striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has declared same sex marriage to be a moral virtue and a constitutional right. Yet our conscience and convictions, informed by Scripture, dictate that same sex marriage is a moral evil and dishonoring to God. How should we respond?

When forced to choose between the two, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Written by God, the Bible holds the trump card, and is the final arbiter of good and evil, right and wrong. When civil authorities declare something wrong to be right, we respectfully disagree and reserve our highest allegiance for God. Unlike human governments, His laws are always good, and His laws will never change.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether
Psalm 19:9

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