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The Sanctity of Marriage

12:01 AM EDT on June 29, 2009

marriage-equality

Eight years ago this month, my wife and I, fresh out of college, naively chose to spend our lives in holy matrimony.  Little did we know that heterosexual marriage was rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

It started when Governor Howard Dean of Vermont signed the nation's first "civil unions" bill that opened up the institution of getting hitched to anyone with the rights to enter into a contract.  I was initially scared that Mrs. Matthews would move to Vermont and switch to the other team, but my fears were alleviated when I remembered the "Defensive of Marriage Act" that was sponsored by Oklahoma representative Steve Largent and signed by the pillar of traditional marriage, President Bill Clinton.  Our marriage was safe.

Then things began to change.  The Massachusetts Supreme Court declared it against the state constitution to deny marriage rights based on sexual preference.  Within a few years, several other states--apparently missing the tidal wave of ballot issues banning gay marriage--started opening up the option of each person marrying a man or woman based entirely on their own discretion.  Among the state were liberal bastions like New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and Iowa.

Obviously, I started to get very afraid.  Certainly the only thing keeping Mrs. Matthews tied to me was the state's blessing that she had to be married to a man.  Luckily, the wise voters of this state voted overwhelmingly to keep such a reprehensible thing like two people in a loving, committed relationship vowing to stay together from ever being blessed in this state from happening in 2004.

Then, I read this week in The Gazette that openly gay minister Reverend Dr. Scott Jones had discovered a loophole.  He was married to his boyfriend within state lines and the police could do nothing to stop them.  How?  He just said (I'm paraphrasing here), "screw what the state thinks, I'll just get married in the eyes of God."  Huh-what?!?

In the counterpoint article, written by the lovably homophobic Sally Kern (during a month when two of her fellow GOP holier-than-thou group got busted for upholding the sanctity of marriage by spending time with their mistresses), Representative Kern argues that it is God who wants the government to discriminate against the gays.  In a litany of every anti-gay marriage talking point forwarded by email, Sally discusses how marriage is only for baby-making, how being a homo is a choice not a privilege (or maybe it was something about not being inborn), but mostly she talks about how the Bible is opposed to it.

Perhaps her best argument for how God thinks homosexuality is a no-no comes when she discusses biology...which I find humorous considering her typical stance on science.

Biology is important in the same sex debate.  It doesn't take a genius to know that a man's and a woman's body parts naturally fits together.

While this is a great lesson about the birds and bees, it is also an indication that Representative Kern has never watched Cinemax late at night and seen how those women can please each other pretty well biologically.  It also raises questions about how well she understands the "sodomy" word she likes to toss around.

Rather than continue down this path that is only going to get more graphic, I'll go back to the real krux of Kern's contention.  The Bible says no gay stuff, so the laws of government should say the same.  That leads into the other activity she had this past week when she introduced a proclamation blaming President Obama (who has had power for a few months) for ruining the economy by advancing the gay agenda.

I won't get into the fact that most of the founding fathers she quotes in the proclamation were deists whose belief in God was very different from hers or that one of the quotes is from Thomas Jefferson who fought the Continental Congress' insistence that he remove anti-religion rhetoric from the Declaration of Independence.  Instead, I'll just point out that her entire argument is undermined when Scott Jones can be married by a Baptist minister in the middle of a municipal park.

Maybe now would be a good time to make my actual beliefs on this topic clear.  From a biblical standpoint, I agree with Kern that marriage is between a man and a woman (or women--depending on the point in history being discussed in the good book).  The Old Testament defines it that way, and Jesus makes it clear that the vows of marriage are sacred during the New Testament.  For that reason, along with my firm belief in the separation of church and state, I don't think the government should force denominations of any religion that frown upon same-sex couplings to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples.

However, I also know that some denominations, such as the United Church of Christ for which Revernd Jones is a pastor, interpret the scriptures differently.  And, if the government is going to accept the ritual rites of the traditional Church of Christ for determining who gets to check the "Married" box on their tax return, it is a breach of equal protection to deny the UCC's determination of who can be hitched.

So, if Sally Kern really believes that gay marriage being allowed by the government is an affront to decency, she is going the wrong direction in attempting to fix the situation.  Instead, she should join me in calling for a governmental ban on all marriage.  As she makes so clear, marriage is a religious institution and the state, as a civil institution, has no grounds for getting involved.  The fact that they do, only causes problems.

All marriages currently on the books should be converted to civil unions, which should be the most a civil insitution should grant.  For myself and my wife, we don't consider ourselves married because Oklahoma recognizes it, although we do enjoy the protections that come with that distinction.  We are married because we are committed to each other in our hearts and it was blessed by our pastor in front of our friends and family (much the way Scott Jones did it).  I mean, right now people who go get married at a courthouse by a judge get labeled with the same religious standing as someone who stands at an altar while an organ plays.  If you really want to keep it holy, the term should be reserved for people in the latter group, right Sally?

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