Marriage Equality and No Fault Divorce – how do you rank them?

[Updated from the archives.]

I read a thought-provoking question on another blog:

Would anyone agree that there is a difference between

a) baking a cake you know is for a gay couple
b) baking a cake you know is for a gay couple’s wedding but not attending
c) taking professional pictures of a gay wedding, at the gay wedding
d) officiating the wedding

Is it possible and consistent that one may perform a-c as a part of his profession, but draw the line at D, and refuse to officiate on account of his religious beliefs?

I responded by asking a question borne straight from my position as a trial court judge:

Let’s choose a different situation. My understanding of the Bible says divorce is prohibited except when certain circumstances exist. Can I refuse to grant a divorce decree for a couple who meets the legal requirements for marital dissolution but who do not meet the biblical requirements?

If there’s a difference between a person disagreeing with same sex marriage performing a wedding and a person opposed to divorce dissolving the marriage of a couple that does not meet the biblical standards for divorce, I like to know what it is.

There are a number of Bible passages people rely on for their position on same sex marriage, some finding the Bible supports these marriages and others concluding it prohibits them. Some people talk about cultural norms at the time of the original Scripture writings, others talk about the timelessness of Scripture. And the funny thing is that I’ve seen people use either one of those rubrics to support and to oppose same sex marriage.

When it comes to divorce, Scripture isn’t anywhere near that malleable.

Divorce According to Jesus

On a divorce case, I check the paperwork and if the people meet the legal requirements for a divorce I grant it. I look on the decree as a judicial declaration that these people are entitled to a divorce under the laws of my state. I take this seriously and sign only those papers that meet every requirement.

Jesus takes divorce even more seriously:

 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

7th Century Byzantine wedding ring depicting Jesus uniting the couple (Wikimedia)

7th Century Byzantine wedding ring depicting Jesus uniting the couple

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. (Matthew 19:3-9.)

These theologians thought they had Scripture on their side, but Jesus set them straight: Moses’ lenient divorce law was based on the cultural circumstances of the Israelites – a nation of hardhearted people.*

Heterosexual Divorce and Same Sex Marriage

Why is it that people protesting same sex marriage aren’t out picketing legislatures to change the divorce laws? I think in large part it’s because they probably know a lot of divorced people themselves and have learned to live with the high rate of divorce in our society. Not that Christians have accepted divorce as somehow now being proper in all circumstances, but they know that loving people is more important than shunning or shaming them for their marriage status.

And since the Bible’s teachings on divorce are clear and we know how to love those who are divorced, I think it only appropriate that Christians who think the Bible is also clear in prohibiting same sex marriage treat people the same way. Love them, treat them with honor and dignity. Get to know them and enjoy their company. You cannot offer your love one way to divorced people and refuse it to same sex couples.

This started as an exercise in deciding how I should handle things at work** so let’s get back to that. What would I do if a same sex couple shows up at the courthouse with their paperwork in order? I know the answer.

I’d marry them.***


*Paul continued the discussion of marriage and divorce in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, where he said that another ground for divorce arises when a spouse is an unbeliever and abandons the marriage. If the spouse is an unbeliever but stays in the marriage, though, Paul explicitly said there should be no divorce. What do you do if the spouse, unbeliever or fellow Christian, is an abuser? Then Matthew 18:15-17 governs and I think you can treat that person like an unbeliever who has abandoned the marriage.

**Marrying people during court hours is rare for our courthouse; most people wanting civil weddings go to the County Clerk next door, probably because there they don’t have to wait for a judge to get freed up from hearings and trials to perform a wedding.

***For anyone reading this post and trying to read between the lines to determine my own particular stance on marriage equality and divorce, you won’t find it. The point of the post is not to teach one way or another on marriage and divorce doctrines but to encourage you to love people who think differently on these matters than you do. Look at the issues in your own life and how much God loves you and how much grace he has shown you. Now love others with the same love God has given you, and give them grace just as God has been gracious to you.


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71 Responses to Marriage Equality and No Fault Divorce – how do you rank them?

  1. ml says:


  2. Dee Parsons says:

    Thank you for writing this. You always make me think!

  3. Pastor Bob says:

    Near as I can tell, in these here United States ONLY the civil authorities may grant a divorce. The issue, while possiblly opposed in the church, is the governing principle-civil.

    The religious marriage celebrant may refuse a marriage for a number of reasons. including not wanting to put a stamp of approval on a marriage that will not work ( in the celebrant’s opinion) – and often this has been the case. For eaxample, one of my mentors shared the story of the couple who did not go through the pre-marital counseling in a satisfactory way. He stated taht he would not perform the marriage. They found someone else, got married in the church, and had teh anticaipted problems. When they sought the pastor, he was not able to really help since the issues identified had grown, stubbornnes and more.

    The civil celebrant really does not have this option. I suppose if duress is present, but anything else?

    • Tim says:

      You make a good distinction between civil and religious marriage ceremonies, PB. I also think of those churches that do not perform weddings for divorced people except when the divorce had the church’s approval. There are a lot of nuances in these issues.

      • Pastor Bob says:

        I remember a televised interview with a famous TV minister. he was asked if the Christian, heaven bound, Bible prfessing, Christ-centered individaul would go to heaven even if they would nto give up something the Bible called sin.

        His answer had two parts:
        1) I wiull not faciliate that which is clearly wrong
        2) let God make the final decision

        We are free to interpret and live our lives as we understand in and through the work of Christ on the cross. There is some variances permitted, which no doubt makes life all the more interesting.

  4. Jeannie says:

    How you end this post is great, Tim: with the reminder to look at our own lives & issues, see how much grace we’ve received from God, and then to treat others with that same grace.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Jeannie. I can’t help but think of Jesus telling people to deal with the logs in their eyes, and him telling Peter to love and not to worry about what plans God has for John.

  5. madhabmatics says:

    Another good Tim Fall post.

  6. Don Johnson says:

    I agree with your intent but not your interpretation of Scripture, as I think you are taking the verses out of context and misunderstanding what they mean. The translation you are using does not facilitate understanding the text as the original audience would have. In this case, it is much too easy to think one “understands it” from that bad translation when what is really happening is what is meant has been obscured so much that no one could figure it out from that translation.

    I think there is a confusion in the failure for most discussions on this to distinguish between a civil marriage and a religious marriage, these do not need to be identical and in practice seldom are. The Roman church, for example, does not recognize divorce and so will not marry someone who has divorced unless they get an annulment through them. But a divorced person is able to get a civil marriage or even a religious marriage from some other denomination or religion that accepts their divorce. If you wish to get married under the auspices of some religious body, you need to play by their rules, whatever they are.

    • Tim says:

      As Pastor Bob said above, the civil and religious distinctions are important.

      On the issue of translation, I see that you think it is in error but don’t explain why. What would be a better way to understand the passages, Don?

      • Don Johnson says:

        The detailed answer is to read David Instone-Brewer’s books on Divorce. He is a 2nd temple scholar.

        I will try to give a short answer, but you may not find it convincing. The question Jesus is asked in Matt 19:3 is whether Hillel is correct in interpreting what we call Deu 24:1 as allowing a husband to divorce his wife for “Any Matter” (that is any reason or no reason); in other words, there was a Jewish debate about Torah in the generation before Jesus between Hillel and Shammai about Deu 24:1. Both Shammai and Hillel agreed there was a reason translated as “indecency”, but Hillel said there was another reason (which amounted to any reason at all), while Shammai denied that there was. Seeing what the actual question was limits the scope of the discussion from the apparent broad scope when the critical words “Any Matter” are not identified as being from Hillel’s interpretation.

        It turns out that there were other things the Pharisees taught on marriage and divorce based on their interpretation of Torah. In Matt 19 Jesus corrects seven of these teachings where they misinterpreted Torah, but if one does not know what they taught, one will not see how he is correcting them. We can know what they taught from the Jewish Mishnah, the earliest part of the Talmud. The Mishnah contains the “traditions of the elders” that Jesus rejected when they negated written Torah, but probably followed when they did not.

  7. Rev. Carlene Appel, MDiv. says:

    Nice balanced position Tim. Just because I wouldn’t officiate a same sex wedding myself is based upon my interpretation of Scripture. It does NOT mean I hate gays as my gay friends and colleagues would readily attest, including the minister I would refer a same sex couple to. There is room at the table for differently held beliefs and interpretations of Scripture but not hate.

    • Tim says:

      You face this even more directly than I do, Carlene, since the weddings you perform are religious ceremonies while the ones I do are civil weddings.

  8. Kelvin Smith says:

    The opening questions of this post elide some crucial differences. Options a-c are all in the context of a secular profession, which, however, a Christian may wish to inform with his moral viewpoint.

    Option a is, I think, something which anyone should do–we should not be shunning those around us who make different moral choices (“In that case you would have to leave this world,” 1 Cor. 5:10). If John Gay wants to buy a birthday cake, it doesn’t matter who he’s buying it for, his lover, a friend, his mom, or himself.

    Options b & c I would consider matters that well-intentioned, Biblically faithful believers who disagree with same-sex “marriage” could disagree about (aside from whether governmental sanctions will put a thumb on the scales). Some may conclude that acting in a professional capacity is not an act of moral approval, and therefore permissible. Others will consider their presence inevitably a mark of approval, and therefore unacceptable. (The same applies to friends/family who are invited to attend the wedding; some may consider attendance simply a matter of expressing one’s love for the individual, while others may feel like they are nonverbally expressing approval of the action.)

    Option d needs to be bifurcated: Are you officiating a religious ceremony, or serving as a secular officiant? The second option can be further bifurcated: Is this a requirement of your job, or is it an optional service (in many states, justices of the peace or similar individuals have the right to officiate at a secular wedding)? I don’t see how one can officiate a religious ceremony without conveying the message that you consider the marriage morally/religiously approved, so being personally opposed but still serving seems inconsistent.

    For those who have the option, one could take the same position as b&c. Yet I think there’s a subtle yet significant difference, in that the officiant is actually performing the marriage, not merely witnessing it. So I think there’s an additional level of approval implied.

    If officiating is a job requirement, such as a judge or town clerk, then I think it’s legitimate to say that one is simply serving as an agent of the state, and one’s participation is transactional, not moral. A judge who’s serving in family court doesn’t have the right to choose only divorces that involve adultery. But I would respect a Christian who feels unable to assist in such marriages and is compelled to resign his office. It would be nice to have an opt-out conscience clause for such people, allowing them to do the rest of the job but pass same-sex ceremonies to someone else, but I suspect that’s going to be rare (outside, perhaps, of the most conservative areas of our country).

    • Tim says:

      Kelvin, you’ve navigated these issues perfectly, in my opinion. I like the distinction you draw between a and b/c, and then with d ultimately. Well done.

    • Terri says:

      I’m very wary of conscience clauses because they will be a huge entering wedge for other religiously-based opt-outs. These may be Christian and they may not; they may be your type of Christianity or they may not. There are jobs for which I’m completely qualified but that I haven’t applied to because I know I can’t discharge all the duties.

      I’d rather it be this way than have my (and everybody else’s) religious convictions baked into the execution of civil law, meaning in practice that you can go to the drugstore or the bakery or the courthouse but your ability to access services depends entirely on which person is at work that day.

      Keep religion out of civil jobs, is my view. Don’t open that door unless you’re OK with everybody coming through it.

      • Tim says:

        Well put, Terri, thanks.

      • Kelvin Smith says:

        “The customer is always right” is a fine customer service principle, but turning into a legal requirement is fraught with peril. Should a Jewish deli be required to sell ham sandwiches and be open on Saturdays? Should a black printer be required to print KKK rally signs? I think the situations where a private business is compelled to provide services should be extremely rare; far better if the business is up-front about their offerings, and if their customers don’t like it, they go elsewhere and the business suffers the loss. That seems much more in keeping with the concept of personal liberty that is pretty foundational to our society.

        Before you bring Jim Crow in to argue against this, don’t forget that Jim Crow 1) was legally codified, and 2) even when not codified, was stringently enforced socially with often violent attacks on businesses that attempted to break it. There is no such pressure against those who would serve same-sex weddings; if anything, the attacks are on those who demur. I haven’t heard of any same-sex couples who were unable to find someone to serve them because a Christian baker or florist declined.

        To say, “Keep religion out of civil jobs,” is to call for dhimmi status for those who want their religion to be not just a matter of private worship, but of ordering their whole life. The number and type of jobs permissible for them will steadily shrink as the rights demands steadily increase. And, frankly, it’s selective: The same people who want to squelch conscience clauses where same-sex marriage is concerned typically lambaste Wall Street for a lack of conscience in its pursuit of wealth. Do you really want decisions about where to invest (as a stockholder or as a manager) to be made based solely on money with no concern for people, the environment, liberty? Couldn’t those civil jobs use a bit more religion? William Wilberforce was told to keep religion out of politics when he sought to end slavery. Do you really want to be on the side of amorality?

        • Terri says:

          You make some good points. My view is that requiring a Jewish deli to do business on Saturdays and serve ham sandwiches is requiring them to directly violate their conscience by committing a sin.

          By contrast, baking a cake does not, itself, violate any religion that I know of. Nor does dispensing a prescription you aren’t taking yourself, nor does granting a legal civil divorce decree that has met legal civil requirements when you aren’t getting divorced yourself.

          The cake you bake may be for a gay customer, but I’ve asked people many times and have yet to get any satisfactory response as to why they bake cakes for all other sinners except this one selected pet sin. Why is this one sin worse than all the others? Why is it acceptable to discriminate in this one case, but not in against (to include Tim’s original point in this piece) divorced customers, fat customers, customers who have lied and will lie again, and so on? It simply isn’t.

          People have just chosen this one sin to discriminate on, which is another strong reason not to allow religious beliefs to affect service to OTHERS. They still have freedom of conscience and freedom of choice even when they disagree with Christians, even when they access services Christians don’t think they should be allowed to have. Which is the definition of discrimination.

          People seem to get very confused between committing the sin themselves versus others being free to commit the sin if they so choose. And they use this confusion to try to take away basic rights of others, figuring, as they’ve told me, that it’s their Christian duty to not only avoid sin themselves but to make sin illegal for others–purely religiously-based civil law, which would be disastrous.

          It seems very hard for Christians to accept and live the moral truth of human free will, freedom of choice, and freedom of conscience when it doesn’t all go their way. We only have the right to make our OWN moral choices based on our OWN religious convictions. Others have that same right, and it can’t be abridged without violating God’s creations.

  9. jorymicah says:

    The difference between the two issues (in the church at least) is that there was never a strong attempt to convince everyone divorce is holy and righteous. In my 31 years of growing up in the evangelical church I have never heard anyone say divorce is good. Gay marriage, on the other hand, is being praised as good, holy, and godly. I agree that all people deserve love, dignity. And respect, but that does not mean their acts are godly. Good post! 🙂

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Jory. The issues with divorce have been with us so long that I wonder what the percentage is of Christians how see it as wrong compared to the percentage who would say that about same sex marriage. It would make for an interesting statistical comparison.

      • Kelvin Smith says:

        There are a couple of levels of “wrong.” I think almost any Christian would say that divorce represents a failure, and its occasion is a cause for sadness, even if they think it is sometimes necessary or acceptable. (Others would question whether it is permissible under virtually any circumstances.) I don’t think any of the gay marriage advocates take that attitude toward what they’re promoting.

    • Neither gays nor Christians would hold divorce up as a holy and righteous choice. There is hypocrisy when it is ignored and other sins are judged, but the comparison to gay marriage is a false comparison. The appropriate comparison would be to compare the Christian response to gay marriage to the Christian response to the legality of remarriage of previously divorced couples. Those marriages are celebrated by many of the same Christians that are speaking out publicly (and often rudely) saying that gay marriage is an affront to God and He is going to strike His wrath on America (yes, I keep seeing comments like that). And in some cases, the people posting about the downfall of our country due to gay marriage have been divorced and remarried. It is clearly selective judgment.

      • Tim says:

        That extension to the remarriage of those who have been divorced is where the issue really lies, mak. Many Christians are comfortable being gracious to people in such remarriages, and blessing their new lives together.

      • Don Johnson says:

        I hold up divorce as a holy and righteous choice, because of what Scripture teaches. For example, see Matt 1:19, because Joseph was a righteous man, he was planning to divorce Mary quietly.

        There does need to be some explanation of the cultural context of what is being said, but the basic point is that Joseph was going to divorce BECAUSE he was righteous.

        • Tim says:

          Didn’t he think Mary had been unfaithful? He was wrong, but at least his motivation would have been within the grounds Jesus gave as appropriate for divorce.

        • I was going to point that out also, Tim. Joseph was within his legal rights to divorce Mary, but stretching that to say it was a holy and righteous choice is to ignore that repeatedly Jesus teaches us that love and mercy are the greatest commandments. With that in mind, is the choice to divorce Mary quietly holier than the choice to have mercy on her and continue with the marriage? I would argue that the “quietly” aspect of his choice to divorce her is because he was a good man (he could have had her stoned), not that the choice to divorce her was the holiest choice.

        • Tim says:

          Good point. Joseph didn’t want to visit justice on Mary, but mercy. That truly is holy.

        • Don Johnson says:

          The Romans took away the ability of Jews to issue capital punishment, so it is not true that Joseph could have had Mary stoned.

          What Joseph did know was that he was not the father of Mary’s baby, it took an angel to convince him not to divorce Mary. And divorce is the correct word, as Joseph and Mary were in a betrothal covenant, so it took a divorce to terminate that covenant. The “divorce quietly” is thought to be a reference to Hillel’s “Any Matter” type of divorce as other types of divorces (for adultery, abuse, neglect) would need testimony and evidence, etc. but not that one.

          One can also discern a difference between USING a divorce for “Any Matter” when there is a valid Biblical reason for the divorce and the divorce BEING for “Any Matter” (that is, no good reason) as then the reason does not need to be stated explicitly and perhaps cause embarrassment.

        • Tim says:

          I think the nobleness of Joseph’s act was that he did not want to bring ridicule on Mary.

        • Don Johnson says:

          Jews in the 1st century were taught that in the case of adultery, divorce was required, else one participated in the other’s sin. (So Joseph, in order to be righteous, would have been required to divorce Mary, his only choice was how to do it.) This is not what Torah taught, nor what Jesus taught that Torah taught, this is one of the mistakes in interpretation of Torah of the “traditions of the elders” that Jesus corrects.

          This is one reason why it is so important to understand the cultural context of Scripture. Jesus taught that divorce was always optional, it was never required, not even for adultery. He taught that sexual immorality was the only reason stated in Deu 24:1, but did not comment on other verses in Torah that allow divorce for abuse and neglect, so it is assumed he accepted them, as all Jews did, there was no debate about those.

        • Tim says:

          Thanks for adding those insights on context, Don. They really help one understand the passage.

        • Kelvin Smith says:

          The Romans took away the ability of Jews to issue capital punishment, so it is not true that Joseph could have had Mary stoned.

          Hmm, that protected Stephen really well. Why didn’t Jesus tell those who were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, “That’s illegal”? Why didn’t the Romans do anything about Paul being stoned in Lystra?

          It’s true that the Jewish leaders are reported in John 13:31 as saying, “We have no right to execute anyone.” But the next verse says that this fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy about the KIND of death he would die–i.e., that it would be a crucifixion rather than a stoning. Apparently the leaders thought stoning was insufficient for the enormity of Jesus’ crimes. And it seems they thought of stoning as something other than “execution.”

        • Tim says:

          I wondered about those other instances of stoning too, Kelvin. If there was a law against it, the law was honored in the breach more than in its observation in the Bible record.

        • Don Johnson says:

          On stoning Stephen and other refs, there is a difference between mob rule and a decision by a Jewish court. To get a legal divorce, a Jew would go through a Jewish court. A Jewish court did not have the authority to declare a death sentence.

          This is a part of the story of the woman caught in adultery, the accusers tried to get Jesus to decide between Torah and Roman law, so they thought, so that whatever decision he made he would have problems. But Jesus turned the tables on them, showing them to be themselves in violation of Torah, while he was not.

        • Kelvin Smith says:

          Given the frequency with which stoning is mentioned in the New Testament, it certainly doesn’t seem like a prohibition, if any theoretically existed, was enforced. And don’t forget that Stephen was taken from the Sanhedrin to be stoned; if that’s a “mob,” it’s one that has official approval. (Wikipedia says that the Sanhedrin did have the authority to pronounce a capital sentence, but that it was used infrequently.) Did Annas pronounce himself shocked, shocked that such a fate befell Stephen?

          I’ve always heard the situation of the woman caught in adultery described, not as a conflict between Torah and Roman law, but between law and mercy. (I don’t think anyone would confuse Roman law with mercy; adultery resulted in severe punishment up to death.) The authorities thought Jesus wouldn’t stand up for Moses’ law, and he could be denounced for moral laxity. Instead, Jesus affirms Moses’ law, but applies it first to those who would condemn.

        • Don Johnson says:

          The Romans retained the right of execution to themselves in the lands they conquered. At times mobs did execute someone, but this was an example of mob rule, not a part of the legal system. Jesus was executed by the Romans and not the Jewish leaders, because of this.

          Jesus was a Jew and sinless, this has implications, that he always obeyed Torah and always taught Torah correctly. The mob that brought the woman caught in adultery was trying to catch Jesus in a bind. If he taught what they thought Torah taught, then he would break Roman law; if he did not teach what they thought Torah taught, then they thought that would disqualify him as a valid Torah teacher. Jesus turned the tables on them, by showing the mob that it was they who had gotten wrong what Torah taught and therefore they were the one who were disqualified as valid Torah teachers.

          To get into the details is not that hard, but that is the essence of what is happening.

  10. Tim, you invited us to share relevant posts of our own. Here is mine. Thank you.

  11. Muff Potter says:

    I am all for consenting adults of legal age to marry whomever they choose in a civil marriage ceremony and enjoy the benefits of all it entails in a free and progressive society. Anybody who knows me also knows that my opinions in the sphere of religion are anything but conservative. Nonetheless I’m concerned. I’m concerned that clergy who do not share the views of the secular law of the land will over time be required by the force of law to perform same sex ceremonies in their places of worship. I’m also concerned that their rights to preach against the gay lifestyle in their places of worship will also one day be infringed. Even though I don’t agree with many of their religious beliefs including homosexuality, I will stand with them in solidarity for their right to exercise their religion as they see fit.

    • Tim says:

      I think those are concerns a lot of people have. The likelihood of anything like that happening may be remote, though. Too many people feel as you and I do about freedom of conscience.

    • Rev. Carlene Appel, MDiv. says:

      Thanks Muff for your balanced approach and legal concerns. Likewise to you ,Tim. It’s refreshing to be in a discussion with people who know the true meaning of tolerance, respect and love for one another.

  12. JS says:

    Good post. As a civil servant (government employee) stamping paperwork, you would be right to follow the law of the state and transact business according to that law. The idea often bandied about that “America is a Christian nation” is really a loaded statement that reflects what you described above in the multi-uses of scriptural passages promoting whatever people want to promote based on their own cultural fixation. Truthfully, marriage in America looks nothing like marriage in Israel did. Instead, it is based on Roman law. New Testament Jews were also bound by Roman law (and shirked it constantly to the ire of the Romans). In America and much of the western workd, a biblical marriage and a state marriage are two separate animals that have been conveniently morphed. They look and sound similar, but they have different DNA. If pastors and churches really wants to protest, they will cease being agents of the state and only perform biblical marriages. A little honesty would be nice, anyway.

    • Tim says:

      “In America and much of the western workd, a biblical marriage and a state marriage are two separate animals that have been conveniently morphed. They look and sound similar, but they have different DNA.”

      That is excellent. I remember a pastor once telling me for that very reason that if he thought he could get away with it he’d never do another wedding again.

  13. Helen says:

    As the saying goes; Don’t judge others because they sin differently than you

  14. nmcdonal says:

    Poppycock, Tim! Your job is to carry the sword of the government, which means you have an obligation to enforce the law, which means allowing for no-fault divorce. Mine is to be a Herald of God’s Word, which doesn’t include catering to every request given me by a congregant. Here, the customer is not always right. In your case, allowing for same-sex marriage is fulfilling your duty – in mine, it’s abandoning it.

    • Tim says:

      Exactly. The two different roles we carry out will lead to different ways of doing the right thing

      • nmcdonal says:

        Sorry, Tim, I think I was connecting the beginning of your post with the end, and suggesting that if you were a pastor, you would marry a same-sex couple because there wasn’t a difference. When I read more carefully, I see that’s not what you’re saying.

  15. “Why is it that people protesting same sex marriage aren’t out picketing legislatures to change the divorce laws?”

    My answer will set your entire point on it’s ear: I think we are well overdue for a redress on the laws governing divorce.

    Especially since it seems as if our marriage laws en toto would appear to be an attack on children in the long run. I won’t spam you with endless links, but start searching for “effects of fatherless homes,” “children deserve fathers,” “children deserve both a mother and a father” and other similar keywords. Quite the eye-opener.

    It then becomes for me not a matter of “showing love” to people in non-traditional sexual relationships, but a matter of defending the defenseless and helping the needy, recognizing there are consequences for not doing so. Matt 18:6

    • Tim says:

      I’ve read quite a bit on parenting dynamics, whether concerning mothers, fathers, two parents, one parent, grandparents, foster parents, and more. It’s part of my job.

    • Vashra Araeshkigal says:

      The continued presence of those adults who contributed DNA to the formation of a child in NO way constitutes the presence of a mother or father. Nor does it guarantee any sort of behavior out of those people to which said child should be exposed….

  16. Agonistes says:

    If legalized, would you support a marriage involving more than two people?

  17. Anonymous2 says:

    I think adultery has been decriminalized too, right?

  18. “Why is it that people protesting same sex marriage aren’t out picketing legislatures to change the divorce laws? I think in large part it’s because they probably know a lot of divorced people themselves…”

    Apart from asking the important question, “Why single out one “sin” and ignore others?”, you have also hit the nail on the head in terms of our responses. It is easy to make clinical statements based on our theoretical understanding of an “issue”. But when we are seeing the detrimental effects of that issue on our friend, or our brother, or our daughter, most of us have a far greater capacity and willingness to err on the side of love and grace.

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