Christianity,  Politics

A Civil Rights Decision in New Hampshire?

Governor John Lynch signed a bill on Wednesday that makes New Hampshire the sixth state to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The governor has changed his position on the issue, having previously supported civil unions but not gay “marriage.” The New York Times reports:

Mr. Lynch . . .said in a statement that he had heard “compelling arguments that a separate system is not an equal system.”

“Today,” he said, “we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities — and respect — under New Hampshire law.”

A couple of items of note here. First, notice the governor’s allusion to the infamous “separate but equal” doctrine from Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court decision that institutionalized racial segregation in the U.S. It appears that the governor has bought-in to the argument that the gay population should be a protected class (just as racial minorities are protected) and that it is impossible to give gay people a “separate but equal” status vis-à-vis marriage (such as a “civil union”).

Second, Christians who oppose gay “marriage” do so not because we believe in a “separate but equal” doctrine. In the first place, we simply do not recognize sexual preference as a basis for creating a protected class. In the second place (and even more importantly), we believe that marriage gets its meaning and definition from God, not from culture. Thus, the culture may be undergoing an ideological shift on these matters, but faithful Christians are not. Marriage is nothing other than the union of one man and one woman (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:31). Thus we do in fact believe that the covenanted union of one man and one woman should be privileged in law over all other kinds of unions. That is in fact why Christians should be no more comfortable with so-called civil unions than they are with gay “marriage.”

I hate to say it, but I don’t believe that the governor of New Hampshire is alone in his conclusion that gay “marriage” is a civil rights issue. The culture at large appears to be moving in the same direction. As more courts and legislatures adopt this view, gay “marriage” will eventually become a reality for every state. The ideological ground is moving beneath our feet, and we are witnessing nothing less than a full-scale cultural revolution— the implications of which we have only begun to ponder.


  • Big Daddy Weave

    If marriage gets its meaning and definition from God (and that’s what I believe as someone who was married just last Saturday), why do we allow our secular government to define marriage? Perhaps the government should get out of the marriage business so to speak.

    You might not want gays and lesbians to get “married” in New Hampshire but I sure don’t appreciate the Britney Spears of the world who get “married” in Las Vegas….

  • Brian Krieger

    That is an interesting question, BDW and an excellent point about Las Vegas, uh, “marriages”. I just finished Marriage Under Fire… and Dr. Dobson does touch on this subject. The crux (of his argument) is that family is the foundational unit of society. We’ve been having a major breakdown of society because of the breakdown of the family. While gay marriage is not the cause, it is a massive erosion of the family. Government relies on society, society on the family. As you just did, he also poignantly highlights that we are in this state because of our own erosion of marriage. While gay marriage is seen as further crushing the family concept, it was we who got the big ball rolling through no-fault divorce, the sexual revolution, legitimization of living together (which has subsequently legitimized the hookup generation as well). And on and on.

    We can’t dictate what should be God’s intention for marriage, but, given the government we live in (i.e. we get a say in our government) combined with the societal ramifications of the destruction of marriage, it is something that I think we should take whatever legal action possible.

    BTW, congrats, dude! Are you @ T-school down there? I have a friend down there about ready to graduate with his MDiv.

  • John Holmberg

    Typical apocalyptic “doom and gloom” imagery from David once again. Perhaps we were better off when we were slaughtering Indians and enslaving Africans, David. We’ve always been “heading for Hell,” brother.

  • Ryan K.

    @ John

    I read around here often and I am starting to wonder if you ever say anything that is not cynical and somewhat mean.

    I wonder brother if you converse in these ways when you are face to face with people over a cup of coffee.

  • Tim

    Dr. Burk,

    I’m still trying to understand the argument against gay ‘marriage’. Let’s say that Christian Scripture is clear that homosexuality is a sin – fine. What does that have to do with the United States of America? As you are well aware, the U.S. Constitution in no way mentions God… and I believe it is the first such ‘constitutional document’ in world history not to make reference to God or gods, instead finding the locus of authority in “We the people”. The agnostic or even atheistic nature of the Constitution makes me question how Christians can oppose gay ‘marriage’ politically. In the church, certainly it can be opposed. But in the political realm of a godless nation? Please help me to understand… so many responses like this are filled with assumptions that I’m just not aware of or clear on. Thanks, Tim

  • Ryan K.

    Tim the argument for not changing the meaning of the word marriage to include same sex couples does not need to be rooted in scripture.

    The government sanctions, recognizes, and gives benefits to heterosexual couples for some very important reasons. Marriage has been the building block of society, and cultures for the overwhelming majority of human history. Marriages have always been the best context and environment to raise kids and develop the next generation. The government has a vested interest in endorsing and encouraging marriage; it is the foundation for the government’s existence and future.

    Look at a number of countries in Europe where marriage has fallen out of favor and they are now in danger of not being able to sustain needed population levels.

    Am I arguing that gay couples cannot raise a child or should not? No, that is not my point here. But it is not extreme to say that it is and always has been normative for children to be raised in married households. Research also shows this is the best context for the growth and development of children.

    This is not just Christians opposing “gay marriage” (even though there is no such thing, it is akin to saying male sorority), it is about the government doing what is in the best interest of its civilization and future.

  • Tim


    Thanks for taking the time and responding. I appreciate it. A couple of things regarding your response:

    I agree that governments should encourage the production of more citizens.

    However, gay couples are already together, they just want to be recognized. I guess your argument would go further, and say that not only should gay marriage not be allowed, but homosexuality should be re-criminalized?

    I thought that the research was quite clear that there was no difference between children raised in a traditional versus a gay family, but I guess everyone has different research to point to as an authority.

    I don’t see how declining heterosexual marriage in Europe and potentially in the U.S. has anything to do with gay marriage. Modern Western hetero attitudes towards sex, children, work, life goals, etc., play in much more to declining childbirth numbers. These are complex with no quick fix from a U.S. government that can’t even balance Social Security. Moreover, denying gay marriage isn’t going to make homosexuals become heterosexuals.

    I would love to hear what you or anyone else things. I’m just trying to think out loud, since I don’t have anyone to talk to about this. Thanks, Tim

  • Darius T

    “I thought that the research was quite clear that there was no difference between children raised in a traditional versus a gay family, but I guess everyone has different research to point to as an authority.”

    Actually, the reseach shows quite the opposite. If you want a healthy member of society, make sure they are raised by a mother and a father and you will greatly increase your chances.

  • Ryan K.


    I do not want to criminalize homosexuality, that I believe would be a grave mistake.

    Defending the current definition of marriage from a secular position is much more modest; marriage has a current fixed meaning that it has held for 5,000 years of human history and it is at the core of a healthy civilization in producing children and future generations.

    This is not a matter of rights or benefits. In fact, in California (and many states) gay couples are already allowed all the same right and privileges as a married couple. It is solely about changing the definition of the word marriage. It is false and media hype to to pretend there are any civil liberties at stake.

  • George

    Tim writes:

    However, gay couples are already together, they just want to be recognized

    Tim, the issue I see with “recognizing” gay “marriage” is that as the government starts allow gays to get “married”, they have to allow all class of people to get married.

    It is not just the gays that want to get married, but so do brothers and sisters, the polygamists, the 2 guys and 1 gal, the 4 gals and I guy, the 85 year old and the 16 year old, etc. The question I have is when does it stop? The government will find themselves in this situation in the near future, and they will have to allow all because it is their “civil right” to do so.

    The government allows gays to marry, so will have to allow all to marry other wise they will cry discrimination, etc. etc. It will be interesting to see how the government will handle this when the time comes.

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