Supreme Court Opens Pandora’s Box

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America’s founders correctly asserted there are some things clearly established by Nature’s Law and Nature’s God. The Supreme Court’s two rulings Wednesday concerning marriage ignore this fact and open Pandora’s Box, paving the way for a flood of detrimental policies and practices.

Before there were cities, before there were governments, there was marriage. It was established, and the first book of the Bible states, “A man leaves his father and mother, cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” As long as there have been human beings, there has been marriage between a man and a woman. It is the foundation for every other human institution. God created them to uniquely fit together, and that beautiful, sacred, intimate union produces children to be blessed and guided by a mother and father. Given the nature of marriage, it makes no sense to refer to a relationship between people of the same sex, no matter how intimate, as marriage.

We should be careful not to confuse the question of marriage with separate issues. It’s not about whether homosexuals should have the same legal rights as everyone else. (They should.) It’s not about whether homosexuals should be treated with love and respect. (They should.) It’s not about the origin of homosexuality. It’s not about what consenting adults do in their homes. It’s not about “homophobia.” It’s not even about whether homosexual acts are a sin. It’s about the nature of marriage and its role as a public institution.

Why would traditional marriage be harmed by same-sex marriage? Does it affect your marriage in Texas or North Carolina for two men to “marry” in California or New York? This is like asking if the value of a real dollar in Texas would be affected by flooding the market with counterfeits in New York. Yes, it would be, because counterfeits degrade the value of all real dollars and the economy. As economists say, bad money chases out good money.

Enshrining a false definition of marriage in our laws will inevitably harm all marriages and society. Same-sex marriage does not expand the meaning of marriage, but replaces its historical meaning with a counterfeit.

If people of the same sex can legally “marry” each other, we will lose any rational basis for barring polygamy, group marriage, and incest, and for encouraging marriage to be exclusive and permanent. The reason for restricting marriage to one man and one woman is that it takes exactly one man and one woman to make a complete pair. That logic of completion evaporates if people of the same sex can marry. The arguments used to defend same-sex marriage work just as well for defending any voluntary relationship imaginable.

We’re not just fear-mongering. The jump from same-sex marriage to polygamy, group marriage, and open marriage is already happening. Most same-sex “marriages” that have already been performed in some US states are not monogamous for long. And in those places that recognize same-sex marriage, few gays even bother to “marry.”

The cry for marriage “equality” is a sham because a gay man already has the exact same rights as every other man: he is free to marry one woman at a time. The honest term would be marriage “choice,” meaning one can define marriage any way they choose. If this goes legal, then every other “choice” must be legalized to avoid any kind of discrimination. This is a Pandora’s box that needs to stay shut.

Redefining marriage would foment culture wars in every hamlet, city, and school district in the country, ending with a draconian loss of religious freedom. What was once prohibited is first tolerated and then required. If same-sex marriage is defined as a basic human right, a matter of justice and equality—as its advocates claim—then no one could publicly defend real marriage for long. Government would have to treat traditional views as irrational bigotry. Parents who complain about their kids being forced to read Heather Has Two Mommies would be viewed like racist white parents who didn’t want their children to attend school with black children. Everyone who holds the view of marriage heretofore held in every culture would be opposed by this culture. Ministries would be forced to revise their principles or close up shop. Catholic Charities already has had to abandon its adoption services in California, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia to avoid being forced to place children with same-sex couples.

If we don’t reverse the trend, quoting the Bible concerning homosexuality could soon be illegal. It’s already happened in Canada. Just months after same-sex marriage became legal there, a bill that criminalized such statements became law. “Antigay” speech crimes can now be punished by up to two years in jail! In 2008, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal ordered Rev. Stephen Boisson to pay a $5,000 fine and apologize for a letter to the editor he wrote in 2002, before same-sex marriage was legalized. A higher court eventually overturned the ruling, but the incident is a foretaste of the future if defenders of traditional marriage don’t succeed in reversing the trend.

I experienced another such omen decades ago. In early 1979, our weekly television program was airing nationally on network and independent stations. For a few minutes on one episode, I said that homosexuality was outside of God’s plan for us. I also speculated that it would prove to be a detriment to people’s health. (This was prior to the AIDS epidemic.) In response, our flagship station in Dallas, a national network affiliate, cited the Orwellian “Fairness Doctrine” and took our program off the air. The next week, a gay advocacy group was given the entire 30-minute time slot.

We didn’t go quietly. The Dallas–Fort Worth public rose up to support us. More than 11,000 people gathered at “The Freedom Rally” in Dallas to defend my “Freedom of Speech, the Right to Preach.” Major advertisers protested the action of the affiliate and its corporate owner. The station’s decision eventually became national news, making its way into People magazine, and onto the Tom Snyder, Jerry Rose, and Phil Donahue shows. Protests by a diverse group of citizens—Catholics, Protestants, and Jews—plus legal pressure persuaded the station to restore our program after several weeks. The incident contributed to the demise of the Fairness Doctrine. Its official purpose was to preserve freedom of speech on TV and radio, but its effect was to silence conservative voices—so it’s no surprise that some liberal lawmakers want to bring it back. We won the skirmish in 1979, but it is a portent of how bad laws could be used to silence us if we fail to preserve marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

If we allow the state to redefine marriage, we should expect to see marriage collapse as a public institution. Some people will still marry, but it will be like a private pact with little or no larger social effect. Several European countries in which same-sex marriage is legal show what may come. Laws have permitted same-sex marriage in the Netherlands since 2001, and rather than a marriage paradise, with straight and gay couples typically living in long-term, monogamous bliss, fewer and fewer Dutch bother to get married at all. Children are no longer connected to marriage. People just live together, and many have a hard time figuring out why marriage is even relevant.

Many well-meaning people think same-sex marriage is just about equality and spreading the benefits of marriage. Its more radical supporters know it’s about destroying marriage itself. Here’s what one activist said in OUT magazine:

 “The trick is, gay leaders and pundits must stop watering the issue down—‘this is simply about equality for gay couples’—and offer same-sex marriage for what it is: an opportunity to reconstruct a traditionally homophobic institution by bringing it to our more equitable queer value system, …a chance to wholly transform the definition of family in American culture…. Our gay leaders must acknowledge that gay marriage is just as radical and transformative as the religious right contends it is.”[1]

So here we are right now with our highest court approving that which is against Nature’s Law and Nature’s God. In order to stop the oncoming flood propelled by the court’s decision, Christians united together in truth and love sharing the gospel that can transform lives and renew minds. It is the only way to overcome the damaging effects of twisted thinking and unnatural practices.


Part of this article is adapted from Indivisible by James Robison and Jay W. Richards (FaithWords), Chapter 8: “A Man Shall Cling to His Wife.”

[1] Michaelangelo Signoria, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” OUT (May 1996): pp.30-32 (emphases in original), quoted in Stanton and Maier, Marriage On Trial, p.35.

This article was written by James Robison