Same-sex Marriage: Is the Tide Turning? (Part 1)

February 8, 2013

Part 1
by Jenny Abel

The 2012 election marked the first time same-sex marriage was explicitly endorsed in one of the major national party platforms. Since then, and even earlier, there have been significant rumblings about the need for Republicans to similarly “modernize” their platform and “follow public opinion” on this issue.

One political science expert, cited in a recent Huffington Post column, thinks the GOP’s “ultimate capitulation” on this issue is “inevitable.” And he is not the only one with that view. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Iowa strategist, David Kochel, has voiced a similar opinion, and is quoted (in the same column) as asserting, “Support for the freedom to marry is emerging as a mainstream position in the Republican Party.” In one other example, Steve Schmidt, an adviser to the presidential campaigns of both John McCain and George W. Bush, also all but surrenders the GOP’s traditional position: “The die is cast on this issue. Why should we sign a suicide pact with the National Organization for Marriage?” (Schmidt, mind you, thinks the issue should be left to the states—apparently ignoring the host of complications that would create.)

Many mainstream media articles now take it for granted that same-sex marriage is gaining in acceptance among the U.S. population. For instance, a New York Times article in November stated, “A rapid shift in public opinion is bolstering their [same-sex rights campaigners’] cause as more people grow used to the idea of same-sex marriage and become acquainted with openly gay people and couples.” The article cites the younger generation as key to this shift.

Indeed, polls indicate that a comfortable majority of Americans ages 18–29 are in favor of same-sex marriage—one poll found 73%. Polls also show that opinions generally differ by region and age cohort, with a majority of Americans in the South still opposing same-sex marriage and a majority of the 65-and-older generation still disapproving of it.[1]

Of course, there are always larger stories behind the numbers, and overstatement and bias in reporting are often used to advance a particular agenda. Nevertheless, USA Today’s December headline and accompanying poll, “Attitudes toward gays changing fast,” may not be far-fetched, and such headlines are certainly what many Americans read on a regular basis.

So, is the tide really turning?

And if so, how should we as Christians engage this difficult topic in a way that communicates truth while also remaining gracious and loving? Do we really have to engage the topic at all?

The next couple of blogs will start to address these questions—but most of all, Rising Voice wants to hear from you about your own perspective and personal experiences with this issue. It is not an easy one, and it’s certainly not going away anytime soon. Yet we cannot ignore the fact that, very soon, our generation will be responsible for tipping this debate one way or the other for America’s foreseeable future.

Finally, just a little more context to bring this critical issue into focus from the national standpoint:

  • In spite of public opinion polls, the weight of the law is still on the side of one-man/one-woman marriage. Nine states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage; however, 31 states have voted to protect the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.. Until last fall, every state ballot initiative defining marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman had passed; in November’s election, Minnesota became the first and only state to vote such an amendment down. (Only time will tell if Minnesota is an omen for the future.)   
  • As early as March, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to begin hearing its first cases on same-sex marriage. The Court’s decisions are expected to be handed down after June and will likely be of historic proportions (a la Roe v. Wade). We should be praying now for each of the Justices to have sound judgment concerning these cases—and to not be influenced by the pressure of public opinion.
Next week we’ll continue with the series as we consider whether or not same-sex marriage is even our business – and if it is, how we express our Christian beliefs.
  • Ben

    If one believes the Bible as true, Read Romans 1. If one doesn’t believe the Bible as the word of God, read Romans 1 anyway. The sins of Romans 1 has become the platform for one of our major political parties. This is an abomination to Almighty God. The wrath of God is coming!

    • Casper

      Read the next chapter. Your judgement is an abomination.

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

        No, the judgement against homosexuality, abortion, and all the sins listed is not abomination but righteousness. The command of Scripture is for us to judge actions by the Biblical standards of right and wrong. Judging the innner motives of the heart is God’s venue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

      The wrath of God is already here! In ’62 the Supremes took prayer from the public schools. After that came other foul decisions of the Court, the worst being the ’73 Roe v. Wade opening to slaughter of 55 million of innocent babies. The rest is much a consequence as a cause of our present degeneracy.

  • Alan

    Marriage is and always will be as defined by God between one man and one woman as ordained by God

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

      The greatest problem is that legalization of so-called homosexual marriage will inevitably lead to children being raised in that environment, to their everlasting detriment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/slack.gigamon Slack Gigamon

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    2:03:50 Zeitgeist Movie is the utopian vision of the elite – recreate Atlantis

  • Jan

    It seems that so many people, even Christians, get their ideas from tv rather than the Bible. Because so many are … Sorry, is there malware on this page? my device is messing up big time!

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

      TV is a problem, but the most insideous and powerful influence is the public schools and institutions that are brainwashing our children with the notions that homosexuality is normal and acceptable.

  • Anneshaw

    Will only stand with Biblical marriage. Man is forgetting that God is the Creator and giver of life and family. He made the natural laws of nature. Jesus said that marriage is between a man and a woman. They were made for each other and personally, I like it. It is good and natural. I

  • billzilla

    Call it what you will; marriage between two members of the opposite is simply physically impossible, both “partners” have the same set of equipment. Physical union of the kind requires to produce children is not possible as something will ALWAYS be missing. Two people in love taking vows do not a marriage make. Without consummation, the marriage is not complete.

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

      The huge lie perpetrated now for decades is that homosexual relationships are about love. Far from it. They are narcissistic and hedonistic relationships, with other convoluted emotions that participants call “love” to assuage the sense of needs and guilt that imprisons them.

  • Rev. John

    Sorry in my Bible I can’t find the book of Dictionary.

  • MD

    Loving a person does not require indulging his behavior. In fact, Jesus said that a true friend does not stand silently by while he harms himself. The danger lies in the fact that LGBT individuals, driven by aggressive LGBT organizations, are narrowing their identities solely to a sexual definition. Therefore, if we don’t accept their sexual preference, we reject them completely. Somehow we have to help our gay friends broaden their self-definitions so that they recognize they are more than their sexuality.

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

      Homosexuality: Never, ever, use the term “gay” in place of “homosexual”. More and more psychologists are finding that homosexuals are anything but gay, in the real sense of the word, because homosexuality springs from such a deep self-hatred that many of them don’t even recognize it in themselves. But the organizers of the modern homosexual movement from the ‘60s specifically chose that term to get the mass media to avoid the historic and perpetual negative cultural connotations of the word “homosexual”. And that strategy has worked wonders for them!
      Sadly, many good organizations…Focus on the Family…MassResistance…and a host of others use “gay” because they don’t want to “offend anyone”, or because it’s shorter, and repetition of the long word seems odd in their texts, etc. Actually, it’s because they don’t have the courage to stick to the terminology that carries the most impact against this hideous perversion that is taking our children by storm in our public schools and institutions. So they accommodate the vile distortion of a term that used to be used to describe God’s natural world and people’s sense of lightheartedness. No more!

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.mc.1671 John Mc

      The prior is what I posted earlier today in another Facebook venue.
      Additionally, though, it’s way deeper than identities of sexual definition. Homosexuals have a deeply seated latent self-hatred which perverts their entire view of themselves and social cultural norms. Remedying that is only really possible by divine healing, not instantaneously, but by caring people who are knowledgeable and surefooted in the appropriate applications of Scripture.

  • Gdubya

    We need to stand firmly and graciously in the Truth in our own lives and marriages (as we’ve certainly not set the example of good and Godly marriages even in most of our churches) and whenever possible express that Truth in the Scriptural terms from which marriage is ordained and instituted by God as the ‘foundational’ relationship for all others! However, in the public arena, we need to be aware of the social context and graciously stand on the Truths of Marriage from a social and cultural point of view. Probably the best resource out there at this point is “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” by Sherif Gergis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George. It is an excellent defense of marriage from every aspect and most importantly calls into question something that everyone who wants to ‘redefine’ marriage needs to but will not answer…What is Marriage? This needs to be clarified for the sake of society and culture and for our future and this book does an excellent job on every count. I pray that it finds its way to our Supreme Ct. Justices as they need to seriously consider and answer this before making any decisions regarding Marriage!

  • Steve

    Lets look at the one man, one women divorce statistics, why don’t we worry about that first? Why focus on something that affects so few people?

    • Jenny

      Steve, good thought–see Part 3, forthcoming! However, I do think this issue is still a big deal, despite the relatively low # of people who engage in the behavior, since it doesn’t just affect those who are in the relationships but also others’–especially children’s and teens’ understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion will abound if we start teaching (as some schools are already doing) youngsters to embrace this behavior as “normal.” Just by being so vocal, the small minority makes a bigger impact than they might otherwise. That said, I think the church needs to re-focus itself on teaching and helping to preserve biblical marriage, and that means addressing holiness and purity in relation to all types of desire and behavior, whether it’s same-sex or opposite-sex relationships we’re talking about.

  • KP

    Love will confront issues that are damaging to individuals and society. History itself shows that societies that move away from the original design for marriage, one man committed for life to one woman, and conversely, soon end in overthrow from within and the moral depravity leads to societal depravity. Let’s stay with what works while never forgetting that homosexual sin is no greater the heterosexual sin.

    We must pray for deliverance from all sin, for ourselves first and then for others.

  • MB MT

    For the past few years, I have had a Rip Van Winkle feeling of everything changing dramatically overnight. What was once widely regarded as wrong is now celebrated as the new freedom cause. Sexuality of all varieties has undergone a huge remaking. The reason that governments are/should be involved in marriage is because it establishes and protects – if I may call it this – the reproductive unit for the society. With the proliferation of unmarried parenting, even this function seems to be in question. It leaves me very confused. I was brought into the world and brought up by a mother and a father just as most other people for all of civilization. It worked. It is a proven way to raise children. I am suspicious of changes because I don’t know what the result will be and I don’t want to experiment with children. They are too precious to be part of a social experiment. It’s obvious that two men or two women cannot create a biological child at this point in time – and not in the near future either. With that comes the question of why this relationship would need “legal” status if not for the desire to make it “normal” or “not something that can be called immoral”

  • MD

    Interesting points, John. Each of our friends who practice or have practiced homosexuality had a negative trigger, so your information rings true. However, God loves us unconditionally, where we are right now. He expects us to love others similarly so any particular term used is not intended to offend one side or the other but as an extension of kindness in order to open communication to a closed social group. Jesus only argued truth with religious leaders, whereas with the man on the street he was accepting and loving. Once they realized they could trust him, he taught a new way.

  • Lumpy Hicks

    The Church used to set the example for marriage–what it is and its role in society–but no more. The Church lost its authority to set the standard when it capitulated to social pressures almost wholesale beginning in the 1960′s. When half of all marriages among Evangelicals end in divorce, the moral high ground has been lost. Support groups for divorcees have long outnumbered support groups for married couples in most churches. There is no hope that the Church can influence culture for the better when it cannot influence its own adherents. The church has gone soft on extra-marital sex as well, devaluing marriage in the process. Youth pastors by the thousands minimize the potential consequences of extra-marital sex with hip, cheap-grace sermonettes (likely plagiarized from some mega-church, postmodern proselytizer).

    Now the State defines what marriage is almost exclusively because sexuality is no longer a sacred matter. Culturally, marriage is little more than a legal contract between two consenting adults; two “consenting adults” for now anyway. If Democrats think they can garner more votes by further loosening the parameters for marriage, you had better believe they will do it. It’s only a matter of time. Gay marriage is shameful, but what follows will surely make it look Mayberryian by comparison.

    I am thankful for those who are fighting to uphold heterosexual marriage in the culture, but any long term strategy must include a renewed commitment to bible-centered teaching in our local churches. Tangentially, I will add that we cannot simply give our children away to the public school system and expect them to retain our values. Public schools are hostile to the gospel. It’s time to accept that and take it seriously. What’s more, Christians need to drop this “it takes a village” attitude about faith. The “village” is worshiping a different god nowadays. and children will not embrace a faith they have never been taught. I am seeing this in my own extended family; children raised by “Christian” parents who don’t know the first thing about Christianity save the caricatured, misrepresentations found in books, television, and movies. It is beyond sad to see these parents of wayward teenagers, scratching their heads and wondering what happened…as if they thought faith in Christ were imparted like secondhand smoke.

  • Kathleen

    Wow, what a collection of bizarre, ludicrous, barking-mad and sexually-fixated comments. It’s like no one here has ever read a medical journal or sociology text. ‘Why’n I need to read anyting other den tha Bible?”

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