On April 28 the Supreme Court of The United States heard arguments involving one of the most contentious social issues in modern American history. In other words, the Court has taken on a historic constitutional challenge with vast cultural implications. Early in 2015, the Court agreed to hear an appeal of a decision regarding laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Both advocates and opponents of same-sex marriage alike expect the court will likely hand down a historic ruling that will legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Don Walton, in his book, Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace, declares, “Should the Supreme Court make such a ruling, it will serve as the death knell to the America we’ve known and loved. It will pull out from under our culture the God-ordained bedrocks of all orderly society; namely, traditional marriage and the traditional family.”
A final ruling is expected in late June or early July.
Mike Huckabee, in announcing his candidacy for president of the United States on May 5, exclaimed, “We have lost our way morally. We witness the slaughter of over 55 million babies in the name of choice and we are now threatening the foundation of religious liberty by criminalizing Christianity in demanding that we abandon biblical principles of natural marriage.
“Many of our politicians have surrendered to the false god of judicial supremacy, which will allow black-robed, unelected judges the power to make law – as well as enforce it – upending the equality of our three branches of government as well as the separation of powers so very central to the Constitution. The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being and they cannot overturn the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, declared, “Thousands of years of human history cannot be overruled by three hours of debate before nine imperfect people. These justices can declare same-sex ‘marriage’ a legal right in the eyes of government, but judges cannot make it a moral right.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who many see as the Court’s only swing vote, pointed out that man-woman marriage has been “with us for millennia.” Why should the court impose a new definition and say “we know better?” he asked.
Even liberal Justice Stephen Breyer shared his concern: “This has been the law for thousands of years. Suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states that don’t want to change?”
According to multiple reports, at least three justices brought up the slippery slope of inventing a right to marry, especially since it paves the way to legalize polygamy, incest, and – as we have already seen – faith-based discrimination.
Today, there is no broad social consensus, and no global consensus, that society would be better served by redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.
In fact, Religion News Service reported, “Although the experience of other nations does not determine the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution, one of the briefs filed in the case comes from 54 international law experts from 27 countries. They call for judicial deference and a willingness to allow the democratic process to be fulfilled rather than force rapid and controversial social change.
“Despite the dominant media narrative in the United States, there is no international trend toward same-sex marriage. Of the 193 nations that belong to the United Nations, only 17 have changed the definition of marriage or allowed for unions that disregard male-female complementarity as no longer essential to the meaning of marriage.”
As more Americans see and feel the erosion of religious liberty, of parental rights, of children’s innocence, and of conscience rights, their opinions will no longer be swayed by emotions and popular opinion, but by the reality of the fundamental harm that same-sex “marriage” poses to society.
As for this case, plenty of people are making predictions about how the Supreme Court will decide it. FRC’s Peter Sprigg stated, “I will make only one prediction, but it’s one of which I am certain. After this Court rules – just as before – marriages between one man and one woman will continue to be uniquely important to the future and health of society.
“The only question is whether the Court will permit states to recognize that truth, or demand that they deny it. Either way, we will not let a Court’s definition of marriage define us. For, ‘There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy’ (James 4:12).”
One of the arguments presented by the proponents of heterosexual marriage has been that the sought-after right of those who want to legalize same-sex marriage must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Same sex marriage has never been and is not deeply rooted in America’s history.
I like the way Noah Webster defined marriage in his 1828 volume of The American Dictionary of the English Language: “Marriage: the act of uniting man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them.
“Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.”
In Ephesians 5:32 the view of biblical marriage is descriptive of the union between Christ and His church. The legalization of any union other than that which the Bible ordains and blesses is a distortion of the union that exists between Christ and His church.
In addition to all the moral and domestic implication imbedded in the Court’s decision is the impact it could have on the tax-exempt status of America’s colleges and universities.
Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, asserts, “The ‘big three’ issues for religious schools are the freedoms to maintain admission, hiring, and student services on the basis of religious conviction. All three of these are now directly threatened.”
If the Court decides in favor of same-sex marriage the tax-exempt status of churches and religious institutions will also likely be at risk. In other words, the implications of the SCOTUS decision could have devastating effects upon our society.
The Supreme Court made a horrendous decision in the Dred Scott case by affirming the right of slave owners to take their slaves into the Western territories. The Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion on demand was equally devastating. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage it will silence the voice of the church in America.
As salt and light we are to serve as the conscience and preserver of our society. However, it will become increasingly difficult for the church to speak out and stand against wrong, once homosexuals have co-opted the coercive power of government. Nevertheless, we must remember that truth is both divine and immortal, and is worth living and dying for.