Gay Marriage: The Law of the Land
by J.R. Daniel Kirk
June 26, 2015
I confess, I’m a little surprised.
The Supreme Court actually issued a ruling dealing with the substance of the question.
It didn’t appeal to technicalities or procedural issues.
It has been awhile since I’ve dealt with the civil side of this issue on my blog. But I have been in favor of gay marriage as a civil right since starting to wrestle with the issue during the Prop 8 campaign in California some seven years ago.
The position I came to in terms of our secular society is this:
- Christians are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.
- We are called to do unto others as we would have done to us.
- This means advocating for our neighbors to have the same rights and freedoms that we would not want taken away from us.
In other words, it is sometimes my Christian duty to ensure that my neighbor has the right to act in ways that are contrary to my Christian belief.
In this case, the reasons people have for maintaining a traditional view of marriage are religious. We are a nation of religious freedom. We cannot take away from others what gives life to ourselves.
Here’s one of the most important things I’ve been learning:
To say what we believe about something is only the first step. It does not necessarily tell us what to do with that belief in the face of those who think differently.
The idea that we should enforce our belief as the law of the land is one that has to be carefully assessed in any given situation. We need to ask what it actually means to do unto our neighbor as we would want done to ourselves.
I know that many of you will disagree with all this. But here’s something I’m sure of: What happened today is not going to ruin your marriage. What happened today is not going to weaken the institution of marriage as such.
All it means is that same-sex couples now have the right to participate in a civil institution [of marriage] that has been weak for a generation.
Strength of marriage does not come from who else is able to join themselves together. Strength of marriage comes from the two people committing themselves to the hard work of cultivating a relationship of self-giving love. It comes from that couple embedding themselves in communities that will help nurture that relationship and help them through the trials that it entails.
I, for one, am glad about what happened today.
I’m glad because I think it’s the right thing for our country. And I’m glad for my friends whose weddings I’ll be attending over the next year—friends whose lives will be made richer and more secure by the institution of marriage they are legally able to join themselves in.