Christianity,  Politics

Pres. Obama supports gay rights in inaugural address

Today, President Obama became the first President ever to mention the word “gay” in an inaugural speech (watch below). Given everything that has happened over the last year, this is not surprising. Nevertheless, his remarks do deserve some scrutiny because their implications are morally devastating for the definition of marriage. In a section of the speech devoted to equal rights for all, he said this:

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

It is significant in itself that the President even mentioned gay rights and that he linked them to the women’s and civil rights movements before it. But his remarks go further than that. He actually presents in miniature a moral case for gay marriage based on the Declaration of Independence. The “journey” of equal rights for all isn’t complete until gay people can marry each other “under the law.” He reasons that because we are “created equal,” the love we commit to one another must be equal too.

The president only means for this statement to apply to gay marriage, but his words have implications beyond the unions of gay people. If equality relies on legal recognition of any union between people who love one another, why must that only apply to homosexual couples? What about a 35-year old woman and a 15-year old boy who commit their love to one another? Should they have the right to marry? What about a brother and a sister who commit their love to one another? Should they also have the right to marry? Why limit the issue to pairs? A man and two women may also commit their love to one another. On the president’s logic, shouldn’t we offer legal marriage to polygamists as well?

I know that President Obama doesn’t support polygamy, incest, or statutory rape. But that is only because he’s inconsistent. The moral basis that he cites for same-sex marriage necessarily applies to those other arrangements as well. The polygamists et al. are “truly created equal” too, and they have committed love. On what basis would the president deny them the legal right to marry?

The truth is that the president has no moral basis for excluding polygamists et al. from marriage. Once the conjugal view of marriage is set aside, the sky is the limit, and any number of arrangements becomes possible. The president may not acknowledge the implications of his own position, but we should.


  • Mike Dunger

    To any who might think this post to be the creation of fantasy or “straw men”, a British newspaper published a story just two weeks ago that made a strong case for the acceptance of paedphelia.

    • Scott McDonald

      Are you suggesting the atheists are incapable of ethical behaviour? Ethics do not derive from religion, God or spiritual belief, this isn’t seriously debated in the world at large anymore. A 2 year old can’t give informed consent. Neither can a dog. An adult can. Polygamy has come up in the comments here as well. There are numerous cases of this in the Bible. Some Christian denominations accept it. Islam accepts it. If all parties give consent, why should you or I be concerned with it? Another’s marriage, if differently constructed than mine, does not by definition hurt mine.

  • James Stanton

    Is this kind of logic really effective? No one is going to be persuaded by saying that if gays can marry you might as well be allowed to marry a 15 year old or a table leg or a rock.

    Polygamy is banned today because society decided it should not be allowed. Society will also decide whether gay marriage will be accepted in the US. If the Supreme Court rules DOMA unconstitutional then it will be because of the social trends in recent years in support of gay marriage.

    • John Klink, Jr.

      Effective? “No one is going to be persuaded”? This MIGHT be true, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

      On what moral basis was polygamy banned?
      On what moral basis was DOMA made?
      On what moral basis do we deny the other categories of sexual perversion mentioned here? (Obviously my language betrays my moral basis.)

      Once you accept the moral argument President Obama (and others) are using, you must accept the others because the same moral basis works for them too.

      • James Stanton

        No, you don’t need to accept the moral basis for others because those others lack a constituency. The only reason “gay rights” are advancing in this country is because homosexuals now have political power and influence. They have become legitimized politically and socially.

        There is no constituency for these other hypothetical groups that many here are throwing out to score a debating point.

        • Andy Moffat

          In the early 70s when my father was a young pastor he and many of his colleagues made the point the argument that if the law liberalized marriage by allowing common law unions an equal footing to traditional marriage, that gay marriage would follow. They we rebuffed by the same types of arguments you are making – told it would never happen. It would seem that my dad and his contemporaries were correct.

          There may not be a large constituency for some of these things now, but it is not inconceivable that different constituencies will rise to the fore. Once they do, the basis by which to argue against them will be flimsy at best.

          Polygamy and polyamory are likely closer than we would like to think.

        • John Klink, Jr.

          If your ‘moral basis’ is nothing more substantial than having a ‘constituency’, then the Mormons have a ‘constituency’ for polygamy. The others may take more time, but 50 years ago, who would have ever thought homosexuality would ever get the political recognition it is now?

  • James Stanton

    My argument is that this kind of rhetoric is useless because it is unpersuasive and you just confirmed that.

    It does not matter one lick whether gays or one man and a turtle are able to be united in marriage. They are already living in sin. The rest is just icing on the sin cake.

    I agree with you on the last point. Monogamy is on the outs.

  • Mart Gray

    James Hood died this weekend. 50 years ago he helped expand freedom to African Americans by insisting on his right to enroll in the University of Alabama. At the time, many white Christians rejected Hood’s plea for equality. But equality won the day. 50 years from now? people will look back and say…equality won the day. Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall. “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

  • Brad Peters

    Brad Peters, Gays have often gentrified neighborhoods in cities. Restoring historic homes, adding parks, businesses and the like. Then the straights decide the neighborhood is a great area to live and move into the gentrified neighborhoods started by creative and industrious gays. Now the straights have an opportunity to learn yet again from the gays on how a marriage should really look. Forming families with adopted children, often with troubling pasts and raising them to be fine, stellar young citizens. Marriages that now end in with a majority in divorce, should again, allow the gays to show you how to love, raise children and restore a family unit that is full of love, morality and mutual respect. Not the picture we too often see today of disfunctional families splitting apart and destroying the psyche of the innocent young children. STRAIGHTS — here’s a golden opportunity for you to learn how to do it right….. stop resisting, open your hearts and minds and guess what ….. you will learn very important lessons.

    • Daryl Little

      Yes, Brad, gay folk are wonderful, straight folk are fools…

      Seriously? People are people. Many gays are jerks, just as are the rest of us. The issue isn’t what you’ve laid out here. It has never been “gays are bad at doing life and we are good”.
      The issue is now, and will always be, what is morally right in the eyes of God.

      We have much to learn from anyone who is doing something better than we are, but that never ever permits the acceptance of an immoral lifestyle simply because “they’re more cultured” , or whatever the latest argument is.

      Your comment betrays a basic lack of understanding of human nature.

  • dr. james willingham

    The sad tragedy is the multitudes who will be led into misery by acceptance of the new status quo. They will not question whether there is another way, another view, a higher law, and they will join with those who will spew their prejudice against the followers of the Word of God. After all, if the Book is as bad as the commentator on MSNBC says, it follows that the followers of such a work are nuts who need to be removed from society. With the salt gone, the whole atmosphere of social life will become a hell on earth. Our only hope is really a Third Great Awakening, and there are prophecies of such, to be effected in conjunction with the present spiritual comings of our Lord, a subject about which little is said today but which was of supreme importance in the launching of the Great Century of Missions.

  • James Bradshaw

    ” What about a 35-year old woman and a 15-year old boy who commit their love to one another? Should they have the right to marry?”

    Under Jewish law (you know, the one whose moral code Christianity is derived from), girls could be married off at the ages of 14, 15 or 16. I say “married off” because they were often part of a financial transaction where they were “acquired”. Your objection to marrying off young teens is thus not a religious one but a secular one.

    Likewise, our modern objections to polygamy are not religious, either. They can’t be (unless you wish to accuse Abraham, Saul, Kings David and Solomon of egregious sins for which it is clear they never repented – Solomon was punished not for polygamy but idolatry which he was led into by intermarrying with foreign women).

    Your notions of marriage are far more derived from secular ideals than you realize.

    In any rate, it is a good thing that gay men and women aren’t seeing their establishments raided and their patrons beaten by thuggish police as they were some several decades ago (that same “enlightened” decade that saw racial segregation and lynchings). It is a good thing that they are now able to live more fully human lives and contribute to society and even the military without having to enter into sham marriages and spin a web of lies as many seem to wish they be forced to do. It is a good thing that others are recognizing that gays who seek to enter into civil marriage have no desire to “destroy heterosexual marriage” or any other such nonsense but are simply looking to protect and solidify the relationships they have.

    Good for Obama for recognizing these advances

  • James Bradshaw

    Surely you believe marriage law for *heterosexuals* should reflect Scripture too then, yes? That means: no marriage between unbelievers and believers, and no divorce merely because of “neglect”, drug abuse or even spousal abuse since Christ made it quite clear that the only “out” it infidelity (Luke 16:18, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9).

    When it comes to slavery, nowhere is it condemned in Scripture (see John MacArthur’s treatise on it). Should buying and selling human beings against their will be legal?

    “Although slavery was carefully regulated under Mosaic law, neither the Old nor New Testaments condemns slavery as such. Social strata are recognized and even designed by God for man’s good. Some people will be served and some will serve others. That is the nature of human society. ” – John MacArthur, Grace To You Ministries

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