Friday, October 08, 2004

Voting to Keep Marriage Sacred

In-state readers of Oklahomily, a call to arms: If you do nothing else on Tuesday, Nov. 2, you must vote "Yes" on State Question 711. (Naturally if you go to all the trouble of showing up at your precinct to vote on this, you might as well vote on the rest of the questions and candidates!) SQ 711 defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The ballot wording is thus:

This measure adds a new section of law to the Constitution. It adds Section 35 to Article 2. It defines marriage to be between one man and one woman. It prohibits giving the benefits of marriage to people who are not married. It provides that same sex marriages in other states are not valid in this state. It makes issuing a marriage license in violation of this section a misdemeanor.

Will passage of SQ 711 guarantee smooth sailing ahead for the traditional definition of marriage? Not likely, but it is a step that we have to take in order to be able to point out later that we have tried the state-by-state approach first. The Oklahoma question is a close cousin to the Louisiana statute, recently approved by voters, that has already been tossed by a lower state court judge. Yeah, that's Louisiana, but you can bet that certain trial lawyers are already soliciting for the right to quash traditional marriage for the sake of a few bucks and publicity. You can read about the Louisiana fight here:

Baton Rouge court throws out gay-marriage ban

The Oklahoma initiative would also ban "civil unions" (marriage in all but name) and would prohibit the state of Oklahoma or any of its political subdivisions from recognizing gay marriages/civil unions performed and/or recognized in other states.

It is the last prohibition that is the fly in the ointment. One of the ticklish provisions of the United States Constitution is its equal protection clause. The Founding Fathers envisioned a Republic where states would be free to tailor their laws to suit local custom, tradition and culture, as long as trade barriers were not erected, borders were open and certain national (federal) prerogatives were in place, such as the ability to make treaties and take care of national defense. The Civil War changed all that. The federal government emerged from that conflict with new powers, and the erosion of states' ability to do things a little differently has continued apace. Some of this is a good thing. Much of it is not.

IMHO there is little doubt that the courts eventually will hold that the separate states must recognize marriages and civil unions made in other states. Despite the rhetoric of the John Kerry types, who pay lip service to protecting marriage by insisting the states can do it and thus refuse to support action, it will soon be necessary to have a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I have a few thoughts about the sacred marriage versus gay marriage issue:

1. As a Christian, I believe that the only sacred marriage is one between a man and a woman with God as the third partner, guiding them through a lifetime commitment. There are many marriages in Oklahoma that are sacred. There are some that that seem less so, meaning that the actions of the spouses have wounded the sanctity of their marriage. (That does not mean that the marriages are no longer valid. It means that they are in need of help, of spiritual renewal, if you will.) Are there problems with marriage in Oklahoma? With one of the highest divorce rates in the country, how could I argue otherwise? Which is why I must say that gay marriage, mocking the traditions of the ages and the laws of God, will do nothing to improve marriages. Rather it will make it even less likely that people will bother with something that is becoming a joke, at least in the eyes of society.

2. In the event that SQ 711 fails, or if it is overturned and the federal courts complete the pagan assault on marriage, I would advocate that the Church advise its members to forget about a civil marriage license. There would be too great a disparity between the validity of the civil license and the marriage vows of the Church. It's nice when church and state can work together for the common good, but when that is no longer possible it is incumbent upon the Church to protect the sacred nature of the marriage vows from pagan encroachment. (Even today too many young Christian couples marry in civil ceremonies and neglect a church wedding because the importance of the sacred character of marriage is not emphasized.)

3. For those of us who believe that there are always consequences to every action taken by individuals and by nations, i.e., God asks of us certain standards which we ignore to our peril, the gay marriage issue is quite troubling. Coming to a boil as it is at the same time the West is facing a world-wide religious war -- at least the other side sees it as a religious war even if most of our countrymen do not -- I fear that it is a domestic test of whether we will be deemed worthy of global survival. A Christian nation unable to protect one of its most cherished institutions from paganism may not be strong enough, spiritually speaking, to prevail against fundamentalist Islam. We are indeed a house divided against itself.

Keep this issue in your thoughts and prayers. Let it not be said we stood by and did nothing.


At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for making me
a second class citizen,
I hope one day i can
re-pay the favor.


At 9:35 PM, Blogger Koge said...

"The Founding Fathers envisioned a Republic where states would be free to tailor their laws to suit local custom, tradition and culture"

The founding fathers also envisioned a Republic with seperation of church and state, and not to forget equal rights for all it's citizens. : )



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