Christianity,  Culture,  Politics

The End of Prop 8: A Moral and Legal Revolution

Yesterday, a federal judge overturned California’s ban on gay marriage—a measure that was added to the state’s constitution through a 2008 ballot effort called Proposition 8. Federal district judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 was a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (p. 109). The judge immediately stayed his own decision pending appeals, so gay marriages will not be performed until the issue is resolved in the higher courts. Read the decision here.

The next stop for this case is the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—a court well-known for leaning left on social issues and which will almost certainly rubber-stamp the lower court’s decision. The next stop will then be the Supreme Court. That is where the showdown will be and where there won’t be any rubber-stamps. In fact, I think the Supreme Court could overturn this. But if Justice Anthony Kennedy is the tie-breaking vote (as many expect him to be), who knows how this will end up?

I think the court’s decision today sets a horrible precedent. The court didn’t merely strike down a law enacted by the state’s legislature. Proposition 8 is an amendment to California’s constitution that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The court ruled that this part of the state’s constitution was a violation of the U.S. constitution.

Just so you understand the implications of this. If the Supreme Court were to uphold this ruling, it would immediately overturn constitutional amendments and laws in 45 states that define marriage as between one man and one woman. If you are reading this in America, chances are you live in a state that has enacted a ban on gay marriage. The law in your state is now on the line. In short if the Supreme Court would uphold this decision, it would be the most egregious overreach of the high court since Roe v. Wade. It would also polarize the nation just as much if not more than the Roe v. Wade decision did.

Another disappointing aspect of this decision is that the judge sided with plaintiffs who brought in witnesses to show how evangelical Christianity in particular leads to abuse of gay people (read about it here). Throughout the trial, the plaintiff’s subtext has been that Christianity promotes bigotry. This idea is gaining traction not just in this court, but in the culture at large. Christians who prize the Bible’s teaching on marriage will likely find themselves in very uncomfortable territory in the not too distant future. Faithfulness to Christ on this point will earn us the status of a pariah and bigot. And now with the legal situation changing, Christians will also have to deal with a host of unforeseen consequences that will likely result in diminishing religious liberty.

Among the most troubling aspects of this decision are these:

“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether the individual can be a good parent… Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted” (p. 95).

“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians” (p. 101).

“Gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents” (p. 113).

“That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant” (p. 116).

“Sexual orientation discrimination is thus a phenomenon distinct from, but related to, sex discrimination” (p. 120).

“The court determines that plaintiff’s equal protection claim is based on sexual orientation, but this claim is equivalent to a claim of discrimination based on sex” (p. 121).

“The tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples does not further any state interest. Rather, the evidence shows that Proposition 8 harms the state’s interest in equality, because it mandates that men and women be treated differently based only on antiquated and discredited notions of gender” (p. 124).

“The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples… These interests do not provide a rational basis supporting Proposition 8” (pp. 130-31).

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians” (p. 135).

Anyone who thinks they don’t have a stake in this case is burying their head in the sand. Massive social change is afoot, and the ground is moving beneath our feet. This judge declares that “religious beliefs” are no rational basis for law, that fathers or mothers are expendable in child-rearing, that the elected will of the majority of voters is irrelevant, and that homosexuals are a protected class. These statements represent nothing less than a legal and societal revolution. The implications of this decision—if upheld by the Supreme Court—are far-reaching, and I am concerned that many Americans are not paying attention to what could become the most significant legal decision of their lifetimes.

In the years to come, the issue of homosexuality and marriage will be a touchstone issue for evangelicals. It will be an issue that divides the men from the boys. It will test who will be willing to take a hit for the truth and who will shrink back. In other words, it will ferret out for us who is willing to take their lumps for the Bible and who will not.

Stay tuned.


Jesse McKinley and John Schwartz, “Court Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Ban in California” (NY Times)

Michael Foust, “Landmark: Judge overturns Calif. ‘gay marriage’ ban” (Baptist Press)


  • Jow Blackmon

    And this is why, kids, it is imperative for Christians to vote consistent with Biblical theology for foks who are anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, pro freedom of speech (anti-hate speech laws) all the time. Because those folks apponit anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, pro freedom of speech (anti-hate speech laws) who are then confirmed by anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, pro freedom of speech (anti-hate speech laws) people.

    Now, that does not mean always voting for ‘Pubs. I know some Dem’s who would fall into those catagories. Further, salvation is not going to come through the Republican party. However, since all real Christians support the ideas behind Prop 8 then they need to ensure by their votes that they elect people who also support the concept that you can’t give someone a right to do something immoral.

  • El Bryan Libre

    Honestly I’m surprised that people everywhere in the U.S. don’t have the right to marry someone of the same sex. It seems odd to me that anyone would really care to oppose this much less actively campaign against it and make it an issue to divide over.

  • Nate

    Bryan, would you say the same thing about children having sex? This movement (homosexual) has only gained traction in the last 20-30 years. Prior to that it was considered a crime and shunned by society. Don’t for a moment think that the same thing could not happen with pedophilia. All it will take is for people to lose their nerve and allow sin to destroy this country, which may have already have happened.

  • Kelly

    Jow, with your comment that “you can’t give someone a right to do something immoral”, you prove that American fundamentalist are just a politer form of taliban.

    I consider you DEEPLY immoral. The offical stands and opinions of most Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, and a lot of members of officially conservative denominations would see you this way. And, no, you dont get to decide who is a “real” Christian.

    But I am not going to try to take away your rights to do immoral things as long as they do not DIRECTLY (and directly is an important word here) impinge on the rights of others.

    Three take home messages.

    1) Majorities do not trump the rights of minorites in America. Maybe in Pakistan, where the Muslim majority oppresses Christians, gays, women, etc. with their majority status, but not here. Not any more. That began to end in 2003

    2) bigotry based on a conservative reading fo the Bible is still bigotry

    3) The people being oppressed, not the bigots, will be the ones pointing out what is bigotry, and how it is to be legally corrected. And society, as is already happening, will point out bigotry and those who practice it…with the social and religous and moral stigma that is appropriate.

  • El Bryan Libre

    No I wouldn’t say the same thing about children having sex or pedophilia. That’s quite different from two adults getting married. Do you see them as the same?

  • Kelly

    Nate, has a child ever signed a legal marriage contract…or any other? The law that children cannot make such decisions is utterly settled. There is not medical/psychological reason to prevent two adult gay persons marrying. The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association..ALL the major medical groups are on record as being pro gay affirming (some have marriage statements, others have not, but ALL are on record as being affirming of the rights of gay people and that gay relationships are not harmful).

    Good luck finding one such professional group in the mainstream that is pro pedophilia. The science/research would not bear it out (nor for polygamy, whose damage is well documented to the women involved).

  • Ryan Phelps

    “In the years to come, the issue of homosexuality and marriage will be a touchstone issue for evangelicals. It will be an issue that divides the men from the boys. It will test who will be willing to take a hit for the truth and who will shrink back. In other words, it will ferret out for us who is willing to take their lumps for the Bible and who will not.”

    Denny, I always appreciate your passion on these sorts of issues, and especially when you point out when the laws of the land intersect with Christian belief. My only concern (if you could even call it that) is that where you have been willing to call Christians to arms, you haven’t been specific about how we’re supposed to go about the fight.

    I am no postmillenialist. And that means I am under the impression that things are not going to get better before they get worse. And while this might sound naive, the trajectory on the homosexual marriage issue is moving toward complete capitulation (and as Joe Carter points out this morning, legal polygamy will soon follow). So how should we respond as we win some battles but slowly lose the war? How do we stay on our main mission–how do we as Christians continue to proclaim the good news–and also actively oppose things like homosexual marriage, euthanasia and abortion?

    I am of course saying that we must fight. But it is not enough only to point out where the battle is.

  • Nate

    Good luck finding one such professional group 50+ years ago that was pro homosexuality. Please! Are you really trying to assert that homosexuality has been normal forever.

    “Majorities do not trump the rights of minorites in America.”

    Give me a break! Every election the majority trumps the minority. Of course in this case, a non-elected judge has trumped the will of the people of California. Maybe you would like to live in a country with a dictator so you could be assured the the will of the minority (that one leader) trumps the will of the majority.

  • Nate

    Ryan said, “I am no postmillenialist. And that means I am under the impression that things are not going to get better before they get worse.”

    I appreciate that sentiment, but it really doesn’t hold up over history. It will in the end, but there are cycles of ups and downs. The Reformation, the American revolution and the freedom of religion that it produced certainly did not make things worse than they were.

    Also, the early colonial period was just as chaotic in some respects and remember that the First Great Awakening set America back on course prior to the Revolution. We need to pray, repent, and beseech the Lord that He might forgive our sin, heal our land and give us a reprieve. The church also needs to stand up and denounce those who claim the name of Christ and say yes to sin. The work has to begin in the Christian community, we cannot expect unbelievers to stand for righteousness.

  • Joe Blackmon

    The offical stands and opinions of most Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, and a lot of members of officially conservative denominations would see you this way.

    Considering their doctrinal stances, you’re not exactly making a real strong case for your point that their theological assertions are biblical.

    And, no, you dont get to decide who is a “real” Christian.

    You’re right, God does. In His word. Try reading it sometime.

  • Kelly

    As a sitting elder, I have Joe. And thats why I take the stands I do. As do those churches. Thanks.

    Oh Nate, you are just digging a deeper and deeper hold for yourself. 🙂

    Trust me, if we had had a vote in Georgia, the majority would NOT have voted to open the ballot or the schools to minorites. Have you ever READ any history?

    50 years ago a LOT of things were different in medicine! I mean, come on! Evertyhing from genetics to chemo to how we approach anti biotics is different. IF you want to refer to 50 years ago as the standard for medicine, fine…but I doubt that, other than this issue, you would want your kids treated with the psychological/psychiatric or medical skills of that periof (Thalidamide anyone?)

    Has being gay been normal forever?
    Has the medical and psychiatric and sociological scientistif community always seen it this way? No

    Was it wrong to treat blacks and asians as second class citizens (or property)
    Has the legal, medical, religious and social community always seen it this way?

    Is it wrong for countries with religous majoritys that are Muslim or Hindu to push their values and legal standards on their Christian minorities?
    Do they see themselves, like you, as holding the moral high ground…?
    sadly, yes.

    If your relationship was treated the way you want to treat others, you would scream bloody murder.

    Sorry Nate….but, each of your arguements is getting weaker, and weaker.
    “well..they did not used to say that”. Well…they do now.
    “well…all churches used to all say that”. Well..they don’t now.
    “well…it is hurtful to the people involved” Well…the facts do not back you up.
    “Well…it will hurt kids”….well, no respectable pediatic mainstream medial association will back you up
    “well…it will impinge on my freedom of religion”….well…what about those churches what WANT to marry gay couples and their freedom? And, have you EVER heard (ONE example please…just ONE!!!!) of a church that was forced to marry anyone???

    “well…my literalist pastor just doesn’t like it, and I don’t either…and I don’t care who it hurts, whose freedoms it takes away, or how much pain to the people involved it causes. When they say I am hurting them…I will ignore them…I know better then them or their pastors…This is American, and I dont believe in rights for minorities I disagree with…I am not comfortable with it. The fact that denominations with institutions of higher learning at least as prestigious, often more so, have scholars who have a different opinion of this issue, I dont care about that either…I am going to ignore or try, in vain to discredit any and all evidence I don’t like”

    Thats about all you got, when it comes down to it…thats all you got.

  • Joe Blackmon

    As a sitting elder, I have Joe. And thats why I take the stands I do. As do those churches. Thanks.

    Well, if you can read it and come to the conclusion that the clear biblical prohibition against homosexual activity is simply a prejudice the your reading comprehension skills are, how you say, suspect. Therefore, to help you out, I typed this really slowly to make it easier for you to read it.

  • Nate

    Kelly, your continued straw-man arguments only show your ability to disregard the facts. As Joe alluded, I won’t use large words so as to confuse you.

  • Steve

    Back in 2008, after the California Supreme Court majority overturned Proposition 22, Justice Marvin Baxter essentially said, (I paraphrase) by sweeping away the legal, historical, and social basis for heterosexual marriage, the moorings of the marriage boat have been cut, and it will drift, in time, wherever the winds of people’s desires want it to go.

    Essentially all of the arguments Judge Walker used to overturn Prop 8 can be used to broaden marriage to include any persons (a brother and sister that want to get married, two brothers, a father and daughter, a father and son, 3 or more persons, etc.). Justice Baxter pointed out that the only way same-sex marriage can be allowed is to wipe away the legal, historical, and social basis of heterosexual marriage — and once that is done, there is no precedent for keeping any boundaries on marriage.

    That is not the hysterical rant of a religious fundamentalist — it is a California Supreme Court Justice explaining the legal effect of a ruling such as Judge Walker’s.

    Justice Baxter’s legal opinion can be read here (starting on p. 128)

  • Barton

    Nate and Joe,

    You should know better than to continue arguing with Kelly. Arguing biblical principles against someone with a totally different hermeneutic is like trying to play baseball with someone while standing in two totally different baseball fields.

    What this person will do is throw pitches that only work in his or her field while claiming your field is a “kids field” not even worth playing on. This is because all of his or her arguments will fail if scripture is allowed to mean what scripture says. The temptation will be for you to run over and jump up to bat in this “field of dreams” where scripture doesn’t mean what it says… It means whatever culture demands it to mean.

    Resist that temptation and demand that scripture means what it says. Marriage is defined in scripture and homosexuality is condemned… Defined as a result of the fall and God’s passive wrath in Romans 1.

  • Kelly

    Nate, I have noticed that whenever you have been put in a corner, can’t win the arguement, don’t have the facts (real world examples of real people such as I gave) facts about science (hey…read em’ and weap…ALL the major Medical, Pediatric, Psychological, Psychiatic and Sociological associations and organizations back ME up…
    The fact that (wow!) medicine and moral understandings of things (!) change over time. Etc…, you just fold and fall back on “well…thats a straw man arguement”

    Which means; I don’t like you facts…I don’t like your real world examples…I don’t like hearing what I don’t like….
    I RESENT people who prove my facts wrong, and then have the GALL to present data and back it up. And lastly…when you have to insult someone whom your do not know…but who happens to hold several degrees, that you don’t want to ‘confuse them with big words’, well…you sound like a sullen adolescent who knows he has lost the discussion, and cannot counter his opponants facts, so, you will choose to be ill mannered instead.

    Not all that impressive Nate.

    Joe…do you REALLY think that the Bishops, councils, presbyteries, General Assemblies of the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, their millions of members, their seminary professors, scholars and theologians have ‘suspect’ reading comprehension skills?

    If so…1) that shows you have never made even the effort to understand your opponants in this debate. Which gives them the advantage, as I know they understand the conservative arguements. And respect them…even if they disagree. 2) when presented with facts you do not like, and examples you cannot refute, and date that goes against you, you become insulting and bitter.
    That says a great deal just in itself.

  • Kelly

    Barton…so, scriture means what it says…so…we can stone adultresses now? Can’t eat pork? Ethnic cleansing is ok in some circumstances? The rules in the Bible for slavery…can I ask how you will apply them, exactly?

    You seem to have all the answers, and little interest in what Christians who read scriture in the way that the above mentioned (earlier post) do, so, how will you be applying these rules (on marriage also) to us all? Oh yes…and when people who read it even more conservatively than you are in charge, and tell you how to practice/live…your response to them will be…?

  • Nathan

    Denny said:

    In the years to come, the issue of homosexuality and marriage will be a touchstone issue for evangelicals.

    In the years gone by, this was also true. I think the defining moment of what Christians in general think of homosexuals occurred during the AIDS crisis. I think the church completely screwed up there and what we are experiencing now is the aftermath of that sinful response. There wasn’t any compassion or understanding back then, and I don’t sense any of that now from Denny and his supporters.

    I could be wrong on the previous sentence, I would like to know how.

  • Nate

    Kelly, your real-world facts about your friends and relatives are irrelevant to the discussion. I could just as easily speak about my friend’s homosexual uncle who made unwarranted advances at my friend when he was a teenager thereby confirming that all homosexuals are predators. And you haven’t proven my facts about disease among male homosexuals wrong as you have no statistical evidence to show male on male homsexual sex is a healthy activity.

  • Darius

    Nate, just give up on Kelly. She routinely confuses anecdotes and feelings with facts and evidence. In her twisted world, emotion trumps Scripture and logic every single time.

  • Darius

    “Barton…so, scripture means what it says…so…we can stone adultresses now? Can’t eat pork? Ethnic cleansing is ok in some circumstances? The rules in the Bible for slavery…can I ask how you will apply them, exactly?”

    Kelly, another dishonest and idiotic (to put it mildly) red herring. You know the answer, yet the soul-shriveling presence of Satan in your life makes it impossible for you to understand. Anyone with a basic understanding of orthodox Biblical exegesis knows why we can eat pork yet still call homosexuality sin. For one, because the New Testament does. Two, the former was part of the Jewish ritualistic law while the latter is part of God’s created order.

  • Nathan

    Denny, I’m surprised that Darius’s posts stand. I agree with his conclusions (NT condemns homosex, but allows pork eating), but I think he can say that without using words like “idiotic” and his sarcastic tone is soul-shriveling, IMO.

  • Joe Blackmon

    Ryan and El Bryan Libre

    I was just thinking the same thing. It’s too bad Kelly isn’t willing to be nice and just keep her unbiblical ideas to herself and the people who have respect for her.

  • paul

    Actually, Joe and Nathan, it’s funny…

    While I disagree with Darius on 97% of his political views and probably 10% of his religious views, I have no problem with him calling a STATEMENT idiotic.

    However, Joe might be one of the most offensively ignorant jerks that I’ve seen on the internet. All that’s missing are the comparisons to Nazis, and I’m sure those are coming.

  • Kelly

    Nathan, while I disagree with you about the NT (read the works of Rogers, among others, on the issue), I find that when I corner a person with positions like Darius, getting ugly is about all they have to come back with.

    Darius..when did the stated policies of the American Medical Association, The American Psychiatic Association, the American Pscychological Association, The pediatricians groups, the ASA, the official stances of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Episcopalians, etc. etc., the real world flesh and blood examples of my blood relatives, which so many conservatives seem to love when they are presented as “testamonials”, proven historical examples of how we have changed as a society and as churches and how how such changes relate to this issue, examples and court rulings that changed the law for the better over the will of the majority ( integration, voting laws, etc)…when exactly did these become….”Anecdotal”?????? or

    As the judge pointed out…it seems that “feelings” are about all the conservative side is leaning on concerning this issue, so it is a strange accusation.

    We have facts, medical/psychological/theological (as well as yourselves…we just believe ours is better) and real world example data to back up what we believe.

    So, please….don’t do yourself a disservice by just pretending that ALL the facts, data, information about churches that disagree with you, professional medical groups who disagree with you, and yes, real world examples of REAL people who have better lives because they were welcomed as they are, are “annecdotal”.
    OF course, you can continue to do so….but, I think most readers…even if they disagree with me, will have to contemplate that you are just saying “ignore the man behind the curtain”. This, and your tone, don’t really hurt my arguments after all. The opposite if anything is the case.

    I will close by saying that not ONE word I have written was written, upon my life and all I hold sacred, dear and close to me, is in ANY way written in a manner that is dishonest.

    You can disagree with my ideas…but you cannot deny my facts of who supports my side, that the church does not speak with one voice on this issue, and that we have changed over time on many issues, and is starting, whether you like it or not, to do so on this one, so you have no need to call me “dishonest” because I can point out things you do not like. I have had no reason to call you dishonest, and I have given you none either.

    I am working with facts and evidence…it seems you just do not like them. No need to get upset and churlish over it.

    Nate, I will close by using a bit of very basic logic. How, exactly, do two monogomous persons having sex physically harm each other? IF they did regularly do so…then WHY do the American Medical Association, and ALL the other medical/psychitirc and psychological groups support MY side in this, and now yours, if it is so inherently “unhealthy”?

    Some gay men no doubt are predators by the way…in reference to your same post…but, I don’t think this ruling was in relation to predation, but to the right to marry and be part of a union that can be far happier and far more stable, than being alone or living in a relationship that has no recognition, correct? So, my anecdote is relevant to the discussion…yours, not so much.

  • RD

    Darius states: “…the soul-shriveling presence of Satan in your life makes it impossible for you to understand.”

    Dude, maybe it’s time to dial back the vitriol a notch. We should all be able to express our thoughts without being blasted as being spawns of Satan.

  • Nathan

    Any comments on this comment?


    In the years gone by, homosexuality and marriage have been a touchstone issue for evangelicals. I think the defining moment of what Christians in general think of homosexuals occurred during the AIDS crisis. I think the church completely screwed up there and what we are experiencing now is the aftermath of that sinful response. There wasn’t any compassion or understanding back then, and I don’t sense any of that now from Denny and his supporters.

    I could be wrong on the previous sentence, I would like to know how.


  • David Vinzant

    This ruling reminds me of what MLK said: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

  • Nate

    Nathan, I’m not sure what you are asking for a comparison of.

    Are you asking as to whether Christians should not be upset that one man (a ursurping judge) has overruled the will of the people of California and potentially will overrule the will of close to 300 million who have voted in, I believe, 31 others states to uphold marriage as being between one man and one woman or are you implying that because of the aforementioned items, Christians are not compassionate towards a group that want to avert the will of the people?

    And are you then saying that this ruling today is because the people of this nation, namely Chritians, were not as compassionate as they should have been at the start of the AIDS crisis? Hence, had Christians been more compassionate back in the early 80s we would not be discussing this decision today or we would have already seen the light and have approved homosexual marriage wholeheartedly?

    I think you need to flesh out your question a little better.

  • Darius

    RD, Nathan, et al.,

    When someone is as clearly on the side of Satan as Kelly, and has no willingness to repent of their position, then it’s pretty easy to say what I did. Jesus said the very same thing to Peter (of all people) when he said “Satan, get behind me.” It’s not vitriol to have the discernment to see who is truly speaking for Kelly. I pity her, for she is blind to the light of Christ. Satan is the real enemy here, not her. We fight against spirits, not flesh.

    And, like Paul (of all people) said, I called the STATEMENT idiotic. I wish people could read.

  • Kelly

    Nate…I dont think 300 million people live in the 31 states which have voted on this. And since, there were a lot of close votes..52 to 48 % in CA last time, 53-47 maine..etc…the will of a lot of those people did not get done in any case.

    The will of the people as you call it, has taken a lot of forms over the years. It was the will of the people at one time that women could not vote, or schools be desegregated. Are you saying that the majority always rules in America? What do you base this on, considering the facts I just presented you with?

    I am not 100% sure what Nathan is trying to say..and I certainly cannot speak for him, or his question.

    I can say, speaking as someone from the ‘other side’ of the debate, that a lot of how the conservative church has reacted to both the AIDS crisis and gay people/rights in general is a large reason so many young people have NO interest in church. And that is not a “feeling” or “anecdote”. That comes straight from Barna research.

    Dr. Mohler has written about Truth without compassion and compassion without truth. Perhaps this is what you are asking about Nathan?

    I disagree with him (Dr. Mohler) on the understanding of truth, but I concur, from (gasp) personal experience, and from the experiences of friends and family, that more often than not, the conservative church has been strident in its defense of truth (as it understands it), and way, way short on anything resembling compassion.

    If you read “After the Ball” (interesting review of it and its effect on Dr. Mohlers website a few years back…it is archived) you will see how the vitriol and attitudes expressed by conservative Christians actually play massively into furthering gay rights (and turning off younger unchurched people).

    I dread the responses to this..but, hey, no need to shoot the messenger.

  • Nathan

    Sorry for being obtuse. Legal tolerance of gay marriage is only one result of the church’s interaction with homosexuals. I think that had the church had a better response toward gays in the past, we wouldn’t have such battles now.

    I personally think that it’s OK to reject homosexuality. Call it a sin. Treat it like sin. The problem that I see is in the extension of those ideas. What should the church and Christians do in response? Does the nation agree and abide by those ideas?

    During the AIDS crisis, the majority of those against homosexuality (Christian and non-Christian) considered it vindication. The battle lines were drawn and homosexuals were told in no uncertain terms what the majority of Americans really thought of them. Hundreds of thousands of them died and the country made little effort to help. The church was given an opportunity to be love and compassion, but it stood in as judge instead. Bridges were burned in that time that the church will find next to impossible to rebuild.

    Fast forward 20 years, the pain of death still lingers and angry voices of Christians echo within the gay community. There is no way they’re going give in to an ideology that wanted them dead!

    How do you combat this? Argue over terms like marriage, “marriage,” gay marriage, etc? The issue is bigger than legalizing gay marriage.

  • Nate

    Kelly, You are right. The report was based on the fact that currently 45 states have affirmed marriage as between one man and one woman. These states total 295 million. Sorry, but 31 states have put it to a vote and in all states marriage between one man and one woman has been upheld. Either way, that is a majority. Only the courts have imposed homosexual marriage. To utilize the courts and imply that the will of the people was persuaded by religion is a farce. That is what is happening with this decision.

    It doesn’t matter what the will of the people is? So, you would be cool with the President being ousted from office by an usurping judge over what is written in the US Constitution? And the majority does rule (for the most part) in this country, especially on the status of a State’s Constitution. That is why it is put to a vote. It takes 3/4 of the States to ratify a change to the US Constitution or would you have one usurping Judge write a new Ammendment as well?

  • Rachel

    Truly a thought provoking article. And very interesting comments and thoughts below.

    Our country is built upon all these ideas of freedom, which is very unrealistic. No one is truly free. Someone will always be offended by someone else’s expression of freedom. And while the freedoms of one group increase, the freedoms of others decrease.

    I do fear for my own religious freedoms. I do not agree with homosexuality, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hold love and respect for those who classify themselves as such.

    “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians”

    This frightens me. Purely for the reason that this sort of statement could have an effect on the future of whether or not I am publicly or legally allowed to practice my own beliefs. While I know there are Christians or people of certain beliefs who act terribly towards other communities and peoples and different beliefs, I don’t want all Christians to be classified as bigots, because I’m not. I have my own beliefs, and I plan on sticking to those, but I don’t have anything against someone who doesn’t believe the same things as me.

    I worry about what the future holds.
    But, “In God We Trust.”

  • David Vinzant


    Under our system, the majority cannot deprive the minority (no matter how small) of their constitutional rights. If 90% of the people in Mississippi voted to reinstitute slavery, a judge could overturn it. If 99% of South Dakotans voted to take away the voting rights of Jews, a judge could overturn it.

  • paul

    Darius —

    you are wrong. LGBT’s in committed relationships still do not have full rights to transfer property and other rights afforded to married couples. They are being denied certain rights that you, me and every other married person ever takes for granted.

    Even with the correct legal documents in place, a will can still be overturned with a lawsuit, and powers of attorney do not have to be acknowledged.

    I still believe that the best way to handle this is to make all marital unions civil unions, and if someone wants to have a marriage ceremony, they can do so at a church. That way, it would also give churches the right to turn away clientele that they do not see fit to marry, since it would be a religious ceremony and not a civil one.

  • David Westerfield

    I’m with you Denny, I too am also concerned people are not paying attention to what is going on and how significant this is. I don’t think you’re overstating the importance one bit. Many of the statements made by the judge you cited, taken by themselves, potentially applied to other issues judges will rule on in the future, are frankly chilling.

  • Kelly

    Paul said it very well Nate. Gay couples do not have equal rights, nor gay individuals for that matter in some circumstances. This is, as the judge pointed out, a case of one class of people having second class status written into law, and this is why there are many conservatives (such as Olson, who are fighting against it). The ruling in the 2003 case that ended the laws making gay relationships a crime punishable by imprisonment (I cannot imagine anyone short of Fred Phelps would still support that) made it clear that gay Americans are a class of people, as did the recent enactment of the Hate Crimes Act. And all beathing individuals in this country have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The fact someone else might find it ‘uncomfortable’ should not allow the majority to derive the rights of a whole class of people.

    The majority cannot trump the fundamental rights of any minority.
    Period. And the same arguements you make about gays already being equal were all but laughed at by the SCOTUS in 2003. That being that the anti gay laws affected any and everyone, gay or hetero, who had gay sex (?!?) and were thus not discriminatory. This arguement is ridiculous on its face…and is for all practical purposes the same arguement made that “anyone in this country is free to marry, hetero or gay..someone of the same sex”. Again, ridiculous on its face.

    Rachel, I do not see your potential rights infringed at all by this. Truly. So, I would not worry. If you are a pastor, no one will make you marry two people you do not want to, or infringe your rights in any other way of any note, save you wont be able to say “you relationship is legally inferior to mine”. Thats about it. Now, socially, that is another thing. Already, saying what you say at work, at a dinner party, on a bus, will cost you, quite a bit.

  • Darius

    Paul, you are incorrect. A gay person has the exact same rights as I do. They (just like I) can marry someone of the opposite sex any day of the week and expect the State to sanction it. They (just like I) can marry someone of the same gender any day of the week and not expect the State to sanction it. Equal rights. What you’re talking about is making up special rights never before heard of in this country or almost any other one in the history of the world.

  • Ryan K.


    What about the rights of those who are currently in a heterosexual marriage, not to have their vows redefined?

    This will have horrific consequences as gay “marriage” is not just about extending rights; but rather is about redefining an institution that has been the bedrock of civilizations for thousands of years.

    I know I have said this on here before, but in order for a civil right to be denied it first has to exist, and a right to change the meaning of the word marriage is not constitutionally granted to anyone.

    It is like a college male crying that his rights are being violated because he is not allowed to join the sorority and become a sorority “brother.” Yes it sounds absurd but that is the point, the sorority is not excluding him or denying a right to him, its just by definition of what a sorority is, he does not qualify.

  • Nate

    Paul and Kelly… According to that logic then felons should be accorded all the same rights as non-felons, otherwise they are being deprived. Point being: the US Constitution dictates the loss of those rights to felons, thus depriving the minority of things. Furthermore, sexual orientation has never been determined as a “right”

    As Darius said, this is the invention of a special right not inherently spoken of at the time of the writing of the US Constitution, nor anytime since.

    Kelly, you are insane if you believe that this ruling, if ultimately approved by the Supreme Court, would not have impact on the church as they would now be in violation of Constitution law (and yes someone would bring that to the courts) and then the 1st amendment will be on trial, and Christians opposed to Homosexual marriage will be forced to be married twice, once by the church and only recognized by the church, and once by the state in order to have marital rights granted to them by the state.

    Kelly: Show me any document that declares sexual orientation as a fundamental right of US citizens. And yes, having sex approved by SCOTUS does not give one an inherent right. That line of thought means polygamists and polyamorists are also deserving of the same inherent right to marry.

  • Darius

    “That line of thought means polygamists and polyamorists are also deserving of the same inherent right to marry.”

    Which Kelly is too much of a bigot to allow, ironically enough.

  • Ryan K.

    Yes on what grounds should the rights of multiple partner unions be restricted? How intolerant on the part of those who favor two person marriage to restrict the rights of those who have right to marry anyone and as many people as they want.

  • Jordan

    Kelly, you said: “Rachel, I do not see your potential rights infringed at all by this. Truly. So, I would not worry. If you are a pastor, no one will make you marry two people you do not want to, or infringe your rights in any other way of any note, save you wont be able to say “you relationship is legally inferior to mine”. Thats about it. Now, socially, that is another thing. Already, saying what you say at work, at a dinner party, on a bus, will cost you, quite a bit.”

    Can you guarantee that pastors won’t be forced to marry gay people? Doctors who refuse to do abortions are already catching flack for that, what about that doesn’t transfer to this?

    And the judge also tied “legal inferiority” with “moral inferiority.” So, yes, calling gay relationships morally inferior would also fall under hate speech if this ruling stands and is taken to its logical conclusion.

    To the person who said they’re afraid about the future, we can only trust that God will see His people through even if Christianity itself is outlawed. (And biblical Christianity seems to be on its way to being contraban. … This ruling is not a good one, to give a gross understatement.)

    Verbal persecution has a funny way of turning into physical persecution…

  • Nate

    Kelly, also to clear up the issue of male homosexual sex being so monogamous and safe, here are the statistics than deny that.

    “n 2008, CDC estimated that approximately 56,300 people were newly infected with HIV in 2006 (the most recent year that data are available). Over half (53%) of these new infections occurred in gay and bisexual men.”

    See also:


    And the liberal NY Times, who are in favor of gay marriage also admits the lack of monogamy amongst homosexuals.

  • Randy

    I must say that it has been fascinating reading the posts. I do believe that this is not an issue of equal rights. It is an attempt to destroy the biblical truth of marriage with an ultimate attempt to extinguish biblical Christianity. Our enemy is a roaring lion who is walking about seeking whom he can devour. Even so, we do walk by faith and not by sight. We trust in a sovereign God who has a plan that He is working out for His glory. Thus, we stand firm in the faith and follow Jesus step by step.

    Marriage is defined by God in the scriptures as a union between a man and a woman. In the gospels, Jesus specifically affirmed the creation account and the establishment of marriage. That is rejected by the many “churches” quoted by pro-gay union people on this blog. As I wrote in Denny’s other post: You cannot redefine what God has defined.

    I say this to all biblical Christians-this is a huge issue that we should stand in our pulpits and decry. However, this is a heart issue. This judge and the millions of supporters of his decision will not be changed by a law. They only can be changed when the Spirit of God uses the gospel to grant to them life and within that new birth, grant to them the twin graces of repentance and faith. Thus, we must be His ambassadors calling on one and all-homosexual and heterosexual-to be reconciled to God.

    Let us keep the main thing the main thing. The gospel the gospel the gospel!!!

  • Nathan

    Nate, those statistics are arguments against gay promiscuity not gay marriage.

    Banning gay marriage will not stop gay sex.

    The allaboutlove link reads more like propaganda than anything. I DO agree that certain kinds of homosex are riskier than hetsex, but so is skydiving. If you don’t like the risk, don’t do it!

    Less than 100 years ago about 1 in 100 pregnancies resulted in the mother’s death. That sounds pretty risky to me. There have been great strides in medicine to reduce that to about 13 in 100,000 now! But what would your argument have been back then when pregnancy was riskier than homosex?

  • Nathan

    Randy said, “You cannot redefine what God has defined.”

    I agree. No law will change the definition and no law can enforce it either.

    So, what’s the point?

  • Nate

    Nathan, that is a Red Herring if there ever was one. So because there were more infant mortality deaths 100 years ago that refutes the fact that homosexual sex is dangerous.

    Kelly stated many times yesterday that homosexuals desired monogamy and that it (homosexual sex) was not dangerous because the AMA and others have given their blessing to it. The facts are that homosexuals, in the large majority, do not want to be monogamous, and the sex is risky and dangerous.

    So Nathan you would have us believe now that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in this country is a propaganda machine against homosexuals?

    Let’s play the Red Herring game. Banning gay marriage will not stop gay sex is like saying that Banning murder will not stop murder, therefore we should not outlaw murder.

  • RD

    Orientation is a state of being. Left handed people are neurologically determined toward that orientation. Blue eyed people are genetically determined toward that orientation. The Constitution does not guarantee civil rights to blue eyed people specifically. The Constitution guarantees civil rights to PEOPLE and that includes their orientations. To exclude a citizen the right to avail themselves of a legally recognized right (voting, access to public property, MARRIAGE) is a violation of civil liberties. It is unconstitutional to say that marriage is only sanctioned and recognized between two white people. That is discrimination based on orientation. Period. How is it any different to discriminate against a sexual orientation?

    What amazes me is that many Christians will go to their death defending their right to carry a handgun in public, but they refuse to recognize that an entire group of citizens are being denied basic civil liberties.

  • Nate

    RD, Marriage is not an unalienable right. It is not declared in the US Constitution nor defined in said Constitution as two people who love each other (as the argument for homosexual marriage goes today). If it were an unalienable right there would be no defintion behind it and polygamy, bigamy, polyamory, and any other form that mankind could think of would be legit. The government (actually the state) has the right to define marriage and to determine who gets married. Your argument that an entire group of citizens are being denied civil liberties is fallacious. The Constitution does not promise “rights” to all people for all things. It dictates to the whole and leaves to the States certain aspects to govern. This is why felons lose their rights after being convicted of crime. Their orientation (whatever it was) did not change. They simply are no longer allowed to vote because they committed a felony.

  • Ryan K.

    RD said:

    “What amazes me is that many Christians will go to their death defending their right to carry a handgun in public, but they refuse to recognize that an entire group of citizens are being denied basic civil liberties.”

    Really? Sounds like your stereotyping to me RD in assuming that Christians are monolithic in their support of guns. And as has been said MANY times already, the civil liberty to marry someone of the same sex does NOT exist, rather many are trying to create it by redefining the meaning of the word marriage.

  • Kelly

    Well, your all just going to have to adjust ( I am informing…not suggesting…no need to shoot the messenger)

    There are SO MANY doomsday scenarios presented in some of these posts. I have to ask, has there EVER been a case where ANY pastor has had to marry anyone against his or her will? EVER?

    But, trying to frighten people with this is all you got…so, you will keep using it.

    Darius…dear Darius. I pointed out, just before your last post on the issue, that the Supreme Court, appropriately laughed at the idea that we are all equal since we can all marry a person of the opposite sex argument in a related point to gay sex being against the law for “anyone, gay or straight” who engages is in. This is just…well, ridiculous. Get over it Darius. You lost this one in court already.

    What is all comes down to is the fact you folk really LOATH gay people. And then insult them even further with the “we love you we hate your sin” line.

    The idea that gay people are now seen as a legal class of people, with rights, hate crime laws, and rulings explicitly stating that the old laws against them were based purely on religous bigotry, drives you nuts.
    But, this is America, and as an earlier poster pointed out, the arc of moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. An MLK quote. Hit late widow, whom I had the pleasure of hearing speak several times, said that in time…a good long time, this issue would be won to, because she could see the young people around her beginning to see their gay friends and relatives and neighbors as what they are..decent and good people.

    I find the mean natured statements of many (not all, but many) here…disturbing, but, in a way, reassuring. They are the anger of the ones knowing they are losing. And they are the kinds of things that they younger generations, in the church and out of it, hear and go “I don’t want to be like that”. Don’t take my word for it if you do not want to Darius. Go read Barna, Gallup, etc. You do my side more good than harm when you speak as you do.

    Enjoy the venting. But, deep down, you see the writing on the wall.

    Sorry Nate, but, you Make my case for me. Thank you for that!

    I am working for people to be like my dear relative, who was shown a way in his church to settle down, have a holy union ceremony with his partner, and AVOID all the dangers of a promiscuous life listed in the CDC stats you refer to.
    You see, you LOSE here becuse you want it both ways. You will not be getting that. “gays are promiscuous, so they cannot have marriage” you say, but, then you try to ignore all the many, majority of gay people who are not and want to be in marriages and NOT be promiscuous. Then, when you lose that argument, you ignore that fact that all the major medical organizations support gay rights and most support gay marriage or partnership rights.

    If you don’t like a fact, you ignore it, or try to spin it, or try to change the subject, or get angry.
    All of which let me know, deep down, that my side is winning.
    Thanks for that.

    Oh, and Nate, a point to consider, after you have made such a blanket statement on the non monogomous nature of the majority of gay people. You mean…like most heterosexual people, the majority of whose marriages end in divorce (among the ones who even bother to get married any more)? 40+% of kids are born to the unwed now, and a huge % of marriages are of people who remarry with a divorced ex still alive, which a literal reading scripture says is committing adultry. If heterosexuals are majority promiscuous, and can’t make marriage work, should we get rid of hetero marriages?

    Just follow your own logic a little ways…and think about it.
    Let me guess…somehow, gay people are responsible! Or at least making it worse! Right? 🙂

    Oh, a last thought you might REALLY want to consider. Be careful how you treat minorities, and of how proud you are in your mistaken (shared by many, but mistaken) belief that majorities trump the rights of minorites. Your religious views, and your social views, will, if demographics continue as they are, and I see no sign they will change, will soon be in the minority.

    I hope no one ever treats you the way you treat and refer to other people Darius. It might be just, but I would not wish it on anyone.

  • Kelly

    Sorry Ryan…it does. the courts just ruled it. As have several states, and the District of Columbia.

    And a growing part of the population, and the majority of the young, whi will be the overall majority in time.

    This willingness to go to the mat just makes Christians look mean spirited, cruel and unkind to most of the unchurched. Both in the position held, and the way the “christian right” presents itself, and the way it sounds.

  • Nate

    Kelly, no matter how you want to spin it, you made the claim about homosexuals desiring monogamy and that the lifestyle was healthy. Nobody denies the problems with heterosexual marriage, but homosexual sex is dangerous. Furthermore, I would like to do away with no-fault divorce in order to make marriage more healthy, and it would.

    Also, Kelly no State has ruled in favor of homosexual marriage. Courts have ruled, but the people have never advanced the cause.

  • Darius

    Kelly, when you say “the Supreme Court laughed at that idea,” don’t you actually mean a couple justices? Cause I am sure that at least half of the court agreed with my position, which is clearly the rational and legally correct one.

  • Darius

    “What is all comes down to is the fact you folk really LOATH gay people.”

    Wrong, I have gay friends and neighbors. We get along just fine. What I loath is Satan working through people such as yourself to turn that which is evil into something morally acceptable. God hates it, so I hate it. I loath my own sin too.

    You keep switching back and forth who you are addressing, but I never claimed that majority makes right. Truth makes right, and truth doesn’t change because Satan says so.

    Again, like Paul pointed out, I wasn’t attacking you personally or calling you an idiot or Satan. You’re merely a pawn of his. No Christian should give you the time of day, if we adhere to what the New Testament tells us about false teachers, until you repent and stop the lies. I pray He will yet grant you the grace that leads to repentance, just as we all need it every day.

    I do have a quick question for you, Kelly, as a side note. I am wondering, what is the Gospel to you? Could you give me a short paragraph or sentence explaining it? I’m always interested in seeing what people who are unorthodox or heretical in their Christian doctrine think the Gospel is. Just curious. 🙂

    Have a great weekend, may the Son shine on you!

  • Nathan


    It sounded like you said that if X is inherently dangerous, then X should be outlawed. If that is the case, then pregnancy should have been outlawed 100 years ago because it was inherently dangerous then. I don’t state this as argument for gay marriage – just to show you that your reasoning may not be consistent in this case.

    If the large majority of gays don’t want to be monogamous, then the large majority of gays don’t want to get married. So are we talking about less than 1 percent of the population that wants to get gay married? That’s not much of a social or economic tidal wave, IMO.

    You said, “Banning gay marriage will not stop gay sex is like saying that Banning murder will not stop murder, therefore we should not outlaw murder.”

    No, it’s like saying banning GUNS will not stop murder, therefore we should not outlaw GUNS (on that basis).

    The CDC reported the results of current behavior which doesn’t include homosex when gay marriage is allowed.

    I guarantee you that allowing gay marriage will NOT increase the amount of homosex one iota. If anything, it will decrease it some.

  • Nate

    Nathan, I was merely pointing out your red herring of an argument and then giving you another. I was being facetious. You may want to look up the definition and see why, because you apparently didn’t get it.

  • Nathan

    Nate, instead of just crying “Red Herring!” Please tell me how I’ve diverted the discussion. I’m not trying to smoke screen anything.

    Do you or do you not think that laws should forbid things that are inherently dangerous? That IS one of your reasons for wanting to ban gay marriage, isn’t it?

    If it is, then we can discuss other things that are inherently dangerous that you do yourself or allow other people to do.

    I am not arguing FOR gay marriage, I’m looking for reasons to ban it. The riskiness of an activity is not necessarily a valid reason because it’s not universally applied and it’s even ill-defined (risk is subjective).

    Again, my statement wasn’t attempting to refute your point about the riskiness of homosex, but to refute that riskiness is a valid reason to outlaw something.

  • Nate

    Nathan, that is fine but your comparison is invalid. Think about it. If you ban pregnancy, human life ends, therefore (even with the risks in pregnancy) having children must continue for life to continue. Moreover, my argument, as I stated, was to refute Kelly’s assertion that most homosexuals wanted monogamy and that the lifestyle was not dangerous. Even considering your statement about infant mortality, it is far more dangerous health-wise to be a homosexual man than a pregnant woman.

    Furthermore, the riskiness of an activity IS a reason to ban it. That is why incest is banned. There is no other reason for it to be banned other than the risk of the children’s health. Polygamy is banned due to the risk of abuse of women and children. And, not more than 30 years ago homosexuality was considered inherently dangerous to the health of individuals and to the morals of society, hence laws banning it.

    So yes, society has every right to ban risky behavior and behavior that may pose health risks to the individual and to the nation as a whole. That is why immigrants cannot enter the country with certain diseases or with fruits, vegetables, whatever, that may cause harm to the public.

    As one of Denny’s other posts noted, legally to create a new position Constitutionally that is not already there, one has to prove that this practice in imbedded in the history of the country. That is not the case with homosexual marriage and decisions by the court to legitimize it, as if it has been repressed for an extended period of time, is revisionist history to say the least.

  • Nathan

    Allowing gay marriage will not increase the incidence of disease. Giving a gay couple inheritance rights and better tax treatment doesn’t mean that they will change their activities, does it? I can only see the risk decreasing. You’ve said that their behavior is so extreme, I doubt that even you believe it could increase.

    Whereas, introducing people and items with communicable pathogens into a sterile population WILL increase the incidence of disease.

    I see a big difference between these two situations.

    If you were arguing to outlaw promiscuity, I wouldn’t 100% agree (because I think people should have certain rights even though they might put themselves at risk), but we would be closer.

  • Nate

    Nathan, you keep changing the conversation. You asked for proof that riskiness is a valid reason for outlawing something. I gave you specific examples which you have not engaged either in agreement or disagreement. Instead you change the conversation to issues of inheritance and tax treatment.

    You keep saying that you are not arguing for homosexual marriage, yet all you do is continue to try and show that it shouldn’t be outlawed. As I have told you before Nathan, your remarks point to your approval of homosexual marriage. That is fine, it is your opinion. I am confused as to why you continue to say on the one hand you are not lobbying for it, but all your arguments point to your desire to see it come to pass.

  • Nathan

    I think the true test is injury. Who is injured? How are they injured? Why are they injured? You may be mixing things up because where there is injury, there is risk. The possibility of injury creates the risk, but the two aren’t interchangeable. We tend to allow consenting adults to take risks with their own life (like getting drunk), but we don’t let them risk the lives and happiness of non-consenting people (like drunk driving and incest, where the innocent people created from the incest are the injured).

    Regarding polygamy, I doubt that the sole reason it is outlawed is the possible abuse that can happen. You know, abuse happens A LOT in traditional marriages, too. So, you allow the risk involved in traditional marriage but not other forms? That sounds fishy to me.

    I didn’t change the conversation to inheritance and taxes. They are an extension of the conversation because those are extended to gays if they are legally married and DON’T change the risks involved in homosex that you referred to (which are really risks involved in promiscuous homosex). Your argument of risk does not stand against gay marriage, but against gay promiscuity.

    There is a difference between treating people equally and putting a stamp of approval on the things they do. If someone were advocating banning gay speech, then I would have to oppose that, too. If they were trying to shut down a gay-only church, then I would have to oppose that, too. I hope that you wouldn’t deny these freedoms. Denying these freedoms does not imply that you approve these things. The same is true for gay marriage.

  • Nathan

    The end of my last post should read:

    NOT denying these freedoms does not imply that you approve these things. The same is true for gay marriage.

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