The Supreme Court may strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, it may declare California's ban on gay marriage (Proposition 8) to be unconstitutional. We won't know the Court's decisions until June, but the ramifications of this issue are already affecting Christians in significant ways.
The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law in 1996 by President Clinton. In the Senate, it passed 85-14; in the House, 342-67. Now Mr. Clinton has made clear his opposition to the Act he signed and American public opinion has reversed on the issue. In 2009, 37 percent of Americans supported gay marriage, while 54 percent were opposed. The latest polls show that 58 percent of the public supports same-sex marriage, while 36 percent are opposed.
As this movement to legalize and normalize gay marriage continues, those who object on religious grounds will find themselves increasingly pressured to capitulate.
Consider Canada, where gay marriage was legalized in 2005. In the years since, there have been between 200 and 300 legal proceedings against opponents of same-sex marriage. For instance, in Saskatchewan, a homosexual man asked a state marriage commissioner to conduct his wedding. The commissioner, an evangelical Christian, declined to conduct the ceremony and referred the man to another commissioner. The gay couple sued, and the commissioner was fined $2,500. Are we seeing the same pressures brought to bear against those who object to gay marriage in America?
On March 10, 2006, Catholic Charities in Massachusetts was forced to end its adoption ministry because it would not place children with homosexual couples. eHarmony was sued in California for refusing to offer its dating service to gays. A Methodist camp in New Jersey lost its state tax-exempt status for not hosting a same-sex union in its marriage pavilion.
What can Christians do to respond? First, I encourage you to consider signing the Manhattan Declaration, a statement formulated by a broad coalition of believers that articulates support for biblical marriage. Second, you can tell your elected officials of your support for biblical marriage. Third, you can begin praying daily for the Supreme Court members. Six of the justices are Catholic, while the other three are Jewish. Pray for them to be influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition on this significant issue.
And know that whatever happens in June, God is still on his throne. The darker the room, the brighter your light will shine.
Jim Denison, Ph.D., is a subject matter expert on cultural and contemporary issues. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, a nonsectarian "think tank" designed to engage contemporary issues with biblical truth in 2009 and is the author of seven books, including Radical Islam: What You Need to Know. For more information on the Denison Forum, visit www.denisonforum.org. To connect with Dr. Denison in social media, visit www.twitter.com/jimdenison or www.facebook.com/denisonforum.
Publication date: April 2, 2013