Most readers already know how historic today is in our national life. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments concerning gay marriage. The Justices will render a decision on the matter by the end of June. Given the high court’s precedents in the 2003 Lawrence decision and in the 2013 Windsor decision, most observers agree that the current case is a forgone conclusion. The Supreme Court is poised to declare gay marriage a constitutional right.
Seventy percent of Americans already live in states where gay marriage is legal. But by the end of June, one hundred percent of Americans will live in a state where gay marriage is legal. That means that every community in America—from New York City to Los Angeles, California to DeRidder, Louisiana—will have gay marriage. That is what we are facing, and the final stage of the legal battle starts today.
Today’s oral arguments come amidst a moral revolution in our country on the definition of marriage, and that revolution even cuts into those who claim the mantle of Christianity. Daniel Burke reports for CNN that “there are now more people of faith who favor marriage equality than stand against it, a dramatic turn in one of this country’s most divisive debates and a generational shift.” The shift is indeed overwhelmingly generational. Burke writes,
Seven in 10 Millennials, for example, support same-sex marriage and say that faith groups alienate young adults by being judgemental on sexual ethics. Half of millennial Republicans say gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry, and 43% of white evangelical millennials agree.
That last number is the one that should stand out. Who knows how these evangelical millennials are defined. Nevertheless, the story suggests that not even evangelicals can escape the revolution—a revolution that will have the imprimatur of the Supreme Court by the end of this summer.
So this is a watershed moment in our national life, and it is a watershed moment for Christianity in America. As popular opinion and legal precedent move decisively in favor of gay marriage, those who call themselves Christians have a choice. They can either join the revolution or they can follow Jesus. Which is another way of saying that they can walk the narrow path that leads to life or they can join the throngs headed down the broad road that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). Gay marriage will cause a winnowing of our ranks, and we are about to find out who is willing to follow Jesus when it gets hard.