Numerous countries and states have considered granting the privilege of marriage to people of the same sex. Several have determined to do so.
This has followed after years of progressive moral decline: no-fault divorce, legalized abortion, trial marriages and the sexual revolution, and the gay rights movement. Granting marital status to homosexuals is one of the greatest downward leaps in this long progression.
The purpose of this study is to consider what view decent moral people ought to take, not just about homosexuality in general, but specifically about homosexual marriage. What effects will result if homosexuals are granted the right to marry?
What about people who do not practice homosexuality? What about those who may not even live in an area where gay marriage is accepted? How can this affect us?
Consider the following areas of concern:
I. Effects on Moral & Religious StandardsThe moral standards of our society have been in general decline for decades. Consider the impact of gay marriage on this digression.
A. The Bible Says Homosexuality Is both Immoral and Contrary to Nature.Genesis 1:26-28—From creation God intended the sexual union to be a mating of male and female. Homosexuality is an unnatural abuse of reproductive mating.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11—Homosexuals and sodomites (NKJV) are listed among other sins that are "contrary to the gospel" and cause people to not inherit the kingdom of God. These terms definitely refer to homosexuality, and are so translated in virtually all modern translations [NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV, etc.; see NKJV footnotes; cf. Thayer, etc.].
Romans 1:26,27—"Men burning in lust for men" clearly refers to homosexuality. This is described as leaving the natural use of a woman and exchanging the natural use for what is "against nature." God says this is "vile passion," "shameful," and "error."
Note that homosexuality is not just unnatural; it is "against" or contrary to nature. It inherently violates the natural order ordained by God. It can be viewed as nothing less than a gross abuse of the natural order of sexual mating. [Leviticus 18:22,23; 20:13,15,16]
[2 Peter 2:6-8; Jude 7; Deut. 23:17,18; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7.]
For further discussion of the morality of homosexuality, see a link to our article on our Bible Instruction web site at gospelway.com/instruct.
B. Gay Marriage Presents Homosexuality as Acceptable, Even Wholesome.
An article in World Magazine, 3/6/04, describes three countries— Sweden, Denmark, and Norway—that recognize homosexual unions. It concludes: "Today's gay activists in Scandinavia, having gotten everything they wanted, now admit that their case for homosexual marriage ... was only a tactical argument. The goal ... was not marriage but social approval for homosexuality."
In short, gay activists do not seek simply the freedom to practice their lusts. They cannot live with the knowledge that their practice has been viewed as a perversion by the vast majority of people in every religion and every civilized society throughout world history. So they are determined to force society to accept their conduct as normal, morally upright, and even admirable.
In contrast to homosexual relations, marriage has been honored throughout history. Sexual activity, that is immoral outside marriage, is yet pure and upright within marriage. Governments and churches have endorsed it, legalized it, and solemnized it. So, obtaining the status of marriage would give homosexuals the respectability they so deeply covet. It would legitimize the moral acceptability of their conduct.
But from a Biblical viewpoint, gay marriage takes a gross moral perversion from the depths of immorality and elevates it to the pinnacle of respectability and wholesomeness.
Note what follows when society takes this course: Read Romans 1:28-32.
II. Effects on MarriageA. The Bible Authorizes Marriage as an Honorable Relationship between a Man and a Woman.Genesis 2:18-24—God ordained marriage at creation—a man cleaves to his wife (woman) and they become one flesh. But everything God made at creation was "very good" (Genesis 1:31). (The New Testament confirms that this refers to the lifetime marriage bond of a man and a woman— Matt. 19:3-9; Eph. 5:22-33; cf. Rom. 7:2,3.)
Note that God created woman to satisfy man's need for a marriage and sexual companion. Animals were not adequate, so mating of men with animals is gross moral perversion. Likewise, God did not create another man for this purpose, so sexual mating of two males (or two females) is also gross moral perversion.
1 Corinthians 7:2-4—To avoid fornication, a man should have his own "wife" (i.e., woman). God here expressly confirms that marriage companions must be of the opposite gender and that each may satisfy sexual desires only with his/her marital companion. It necessarily follows that same-sex unions can never be proper marriages.
Hebrews 13:4—Marriage is honorable and the sexual relationship (the "bed") is undefiled only within marriage. Any sexual relationship outside marriage constitutes "fornication," which God will judge. But remember that marriage is honorable only between a man and a woman; therefore, homosexuality must be fornication.
So marriage is the only authorized relationship for satisfying the need for lifetime companionship and for sexual affection. But it involves one man with one woman with a lifetime commitment. Only that relationship is honorable by God's decree.
B. "Gay Marriage" Destroys the Beauty and Honor of Marriage.Marriage is made equivalent to moral perversion.
Instead of the honorable companionship and affection of the marriage of a man and woman, an immoral perverted relationship is dignified to the status of marriage.
Furthermore, homosexuals who profess marriage do not honor it as a truly monogamous relationship. Research has shown that so-called "committed" or "monogamous" homosexual couples always eventually have other partners —on the average, eight other partners per year! (See Culture Facts, 12/9/02; and Traditional Values Coalition, July 19, 2003)
There is no such thing as true marital commitment among homosexuals. When a heterosexual couple commits adultery, the Bible calls it sinful. And it is all too common, but it is nowhere near the frequency of unfaithfulness among homosexuals couples. To call such relationships "marriage" makes a lie of the whole concept of marriage.
Recognition of homosexual marriage denigrates respect for marriage.
Consider the results in the Scandinavian countries that already recognize homosexual unions. According to the article in World, a researcher at the Hoover Institute reports: "Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable."
"...in Sweden, the few young couples who do get married often do not like to admit it, since what they have done is so far out of the norm that they feel embarrassed."
If even homosexuals can marry, marriage must not mean much. The result is a nearly complete repudiation of marriage by society.
The ultimate results will be acceptance of polygamy, group marriage, pedophilia, and bestiality.
If two men can marry, why not a man and several women? Then why not 3 men and 5 women? And why not a man with a boy, or even a man and an animal?
All these practices stand or fall with homosexual marriage. All are sexual moral perversions. All violate that fundamental nature of marriage. All are repudiated by the same line of reasoning. And any reasoning that justifies one would justify all.
When society accepts homosexual marriage, they abandon every defense for rejecting other moral perversions. Cases are already being filed in court.
The article in World concludes that, although the homosexuals achieved their goal of social acceptance for homosexuality, "now there is little social approval for marriage." Instead of being the honored majority, those who still believe in marriage will become the rejected minority! Could it be that this is what many homosexuals want?
Marriage has been respected as the ideal sexual relationship. But marriage implies a lifetime commitment of monogamy and sexual fidelity— a standard which we have seen most homosexuals have no desire to follow. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that many homosexuals would rejoice to see the destruction of the cultural norm that has so long excluded them and exposed the immorality of their own promiscuity. Gay marriage, rather than producing sexual fidelity among homosexuals, may instead be a tool intended to virtually destroy heterosexual marriage. To the extent that is the effect, then all who believe in marriage have every reason to oppose it.
III. Effects on ChildrenA. God Instituted Marriage to Protect and Provide for Children.Genesis 1:26-28; 2:24—God told male and female to reproduce and said man should be "one flesh" with his wife. "One flesh" includes the sexual bond (1 Cor. 6:16). One reason God restricted the sexual union to marriage is that this gives children a family with both a father and a mother to raise them.
Proverbs 1:8—Children should hear the instructions of their fathers and not forsake the law of their mothers. [Ephesians 6:2,3]
The fundamental concept throughout Scripture is that a family should consist of a father and a mother who train and provide for their children. Sometimes circumstances beyond our control take away father or mother, and sometimes one or the other deserts the family. But these should be viewed as tragedies. To deliberately choose to compel a child to live without the benefit of both a father and a mother is irresponsible, unloving, and immoral.
Throughout Scripture, only heterosexual marriage gives children the family relationship God ordained.
B. Homosexual Marriage Deprives Children of the Benefit of Both a Father and a Mother.The children of homosexuals will suffer.
Homosexuals cannot reproduce, but some have children by a previous heterosexual marriage. Others seek to adopt children. And homosexuals have become a major driving force behind the push for cloning, surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, and test-tube babies.
Often courts have refused custody or adoption to homosexuals, but how can the state refuse when they recognize the relationship as a legal marriage?
Many secular studies are demonstrating the harm done when children are raised without the benefit of both father and mother. Who can imagine the additional harm done when, in addition to missing a father or mother, children are raised by adults living in obvious moral perversion?
The children of heterosexuals will suffer.
As the World article stated, the result of gay marriage has been that "virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable." So as the foundation of marriage crumbles, children are raised by homosexual couples or in single-parent households.
As a result vast numbers of youth will grow up with little sense of morality, little parental guidance, and no strong family attachment. If we have rampant juvenile delinquency now, imagine the result as future generations grow up! And pity the poor children who have been subjected to such parental neglect.
The effect will be significant harm to the family, to children, and ultimately to society.
IV. Effects on Religion and Religious OrganizationsA. The Church Is Responsible to Preach the Truth and Oppose Evil.1 Timothy 3:1,2—Each church bishop (elder) must be the husband of one wife. All church leaders must be morally upright, so no homosexual could serve as a Scriptural elder or bishop.
So God's true church must reject homosexuals from church leadership, must refuse to accept homosexuals as members (unless they repent), and must preach against homosexuality.
B. Gay Marriage Will Pressure the Church to Accept Homosexuality.Historically religion has been deeply involved in marriage. The church should defend God's will regarding marriage. Preachers are authorized to perform ceremonies. Some denominations view it as a "sacrament," others solemnize the ceremony.
This puts religious groups in the forefront of the conflict regarding homosexual marriage.
Already liberal denominations are compromising.
Many accept practicing homosexuals as members.
Some accept them as preachers or are considering doing so.
Some solemnize gay unions.
Some appoint homosexual bishops or leaders
Imagine the pressures churches will face if homosexual marriage is legalized.
Churches will be pressured to accept homosexual members and leaders. How can they refuse—they are legally married!
Churches will be pressured to perform homosexual marriages. Many will give in.
Churches and religious institutions (schools, colleges, bookstores), will be sued to compel them to hire homosexuals.
The World article describes how the state church in Norway at first opposed homosexuality and other sexual immorality. Then the government approved homosexual marriage. The resulting pressures led to a battle in the church over ordaining homosexuals. In the end liberal theologians took over the leadership of the church.
No faithful congregation of God's people will ever accept practicing, unrepentant homosexuals as leaders, as members, or as validly married. Congregations that do accept them will cease to be God's true people. Legalization of gay marriage will cause great pressures on churches. Those who stand for truth will be a definite minority, and many groups will fall away.
V. Effects on Government & Education
A. God Ordained Government to Punish Evil and Reward Good.1 Peter 2:13,14; Romans 13:1-4—Rulers were ordained by God to punish those who do evil and praise those who do good. God created government specifically to protect good people from being harmed by evil people. Surely this would include opposing the propagation of such evils as homosexuality.
The church and government have separate roles, but both church and government share a common duty to promote good morals and discourage evil conduct.
Luke 2:51,52—Jesus' training caused Him to increase in wisdom and in favor with God and man. These should be the goals of all true education. If the government chooses to involve itself in education, then it ought at least to promote morality. It should not penalize godly people by promoting evil among their children.
B. Gay Marriage Puts Government in the Position of Justifying Evil.The government licenses and legalizes marriage.
Legalizing gay marriage puts the government in the position of condoning evil that God ordained them to oppose.
Justices of the peace and all government officials who perform marriages will be compelled to marry homosexuals. Every justice of the peace in the land will be compelled to condone immorality, because no morally upright person would marry homosexuals! Consider what this means regarding our judges. No decent person can perform homosexual marriage, so only immoral people will serve as judges!
Next will come pressures for the government to grant adoption and child custody to homosexuals. Then the government will be pressured to legalize polygamy, group marriage, etc.
The government provides social security and tax benefits.
Homosexual couples will file for tax breaks and every possible financial advantage of marriage. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and all welfare programs will be compelled to provide every form of financial benefit to "spouses" and dependents of homosexual couples, just like it does for legitimately married people. These are all stated goals of the homosexual movement.
This will involve a significant per capita increase in costs, since statistics prove that homosexual practices promote significant increases in disease and early death. But the government can't refuse if the people are "married." The expense will paid for by your taxes and mine.
The government provides military services.
In the past homosexuals could not legally serve in the military for many reasons, not the least of which would be the difficulty of maintaining privacy from homosexual lusts and sexual advances. Current "don't ask, don't tell" policy allows homosexuals to serve so long as they are not open about their practice.
But with homosexuals legally married, how can the government refuse them induction into military service? Military service would become an open invitation to moral perversion. How can a nation be effectively defended when such conduct predominates?
The government runs public schools and universities.
Already the schools often promote tolerance for homosexuality in the name of "diversity." Students are told gays are a minority group like people of a different race or nationality, so they must not be "discriminated" against.
God and the Bible have in effect been eliminated from public education, so children of Christians cannot defend their convictions by open appeal to Scripture.
Consider how much more open and extreme these problems will become if homosexuals can legally marry. Schools will be compelled to defend homosexual relationships. Textbooks must be as favorable to homosexual marriage like any other marriage, because it is licensed and sanctioned by the government.
The end result of gay "marriage" will be virtually complete endorsement of homosexuality by the government, the military, and government-run schools. The rulers that God ordained to oppose evil and reward the righteous will instead defend the evildoers and oppose the righteous.
VI. Effects on Business and EntertainmentA. Business and Entertainment Should Provide Wholesome Products.Ephesians 4:28—Legitimate labor involves providing "that which is good."
Matthew 18:6,7—In particular, as in all human conduct, businesses should not provide that which tempts or lures people into sin.
Businesses have a right to exist, but they must encourage people to purity and decency, not to immorality and lust.
B. Gay Marriage Will Pressure Businesses to Cooperate with Evil.Businesses will be compelled to provide fringe benefits for gay couples.
Companies must provide insurance benefits for homosexual "spouses" just like other spouses—they're legally married.
But remember that homosexuals experience far higher rates of disease and death than other people, including venereal diseases and AIDS. Studies show that domestic violence is significantly greater among homosexual couples (Culture Facts, December 7, 2001). The average homosexual can expect to die by age 41.
Companies will face the moral and financial consequences of providing benefits for these people. Many will simply choose not to provide benefits for dependents at all, so many families of upright people will lose their benefits.
All government-run businesses and companies that do business with the government will be forced to provide these benefits for homosexual spouses, paid for by our tax dollars. Laws to compel these benefits already exist or are being developed in many areas.
People will face moral issues of doing business with homosexual couples.
Landlords and motel owners must decide whether or not to rent to homosexual couples.
Restaurants and other meeting places must decide whether they will rent to homosexual couples for weddings, receptions, anniversaries, or other "family" gatherings.
Printers, florists, photographers, caterers, seamstresses, and bridal and clothing stores must decide whether or not to provide services for homosexual weddings, receptions, anniversaries, or other "family" meetings.
The list of conflicts is endless.
Entertainment will flood us with homosexual themes.
Already homosexuals are increasingly portrayed favorably in countless movies, TV shows, magazines, and books. Imagine the flood of favorable shows when gays marriage is recognized. Gays will be shown dating, marrying, and in sexual situations just as openly and regularly as heterosexuals are now shown.
One cable-TV network is already devoted to shows about homosexuality. The goal is to compel every cable subscriber to receive it.
And all these shows will be openly advertised like other programs are now advertised, even when you are trying to watch a decent program.
Advertisements will openly promote their products by appealing to and portraying homosexuals, as they do other couples now.
Newspapers, radio, and TV will regularly report activities of homosexual couples, just like they do other couples.
The result will be a society completely saturated by promotion of homosexuality, just like we are now surrounded by promotion of gambling, beer, immodesty, and other forms of indecency. After all, it will be legal!
VII. Effects on Moral PersecutionA. In Every Age, Immoral People Persecute Those Who Rebuke Them.The Bible repeatedly warns of this.
John 15:18-22; 16:1-4—We should expect the world to hate us just as it did our Master.
Genesis 19:7,9—When Lot rebuked the homosexuals Sodom, they threatened harm to him.
The more corrupt a society becomes, the more openly evil is practiced, the more that society accepts wickedness, the more certain persecution of the righteous becomes.
[Matthew 5:10-12; 13:21; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12; Romans 5:3; 8:17-39; 2 Corinthians 1:4-10; 4:17; 7:4; Hebrews 10:32-36; 1 Peter 2:19-23; 3:14-18; 4:1,15-19; 5:10]
B. Homosexuals Will Never Be Satisfied Till Those Who Make Them Feel Guilty Have to Suffer!They view those who rebuke them as oppressors. They portray themselves as a persecuted minority, and many are determined to reverse the roles. They intend to compel acceptance by all.
I have seen videos and read reports of homosexuals invading meetings of churches or others who oppose homosexuality. They yell and scream, shout slogans, call people "homophobes," etc. They take over meetings, and the police repeatedly do nothing.
Efforts are underway to pass "hate crime laws" that give special privileges to homosexuals. The goal is for anyone who speaks against homosexuality to be sued in court.
Already Canadian laws have been used to fine companies that refuse to do business with homosexuals. They recently passed a law banning any speech against homosexuality (with a weak exception for speech based on religious texts). Preachers have been fined.
All this is pressed in the name of "tolerance." But those who demand that others "tolerate" their immorality are invariably the most intolerant people in the world toward those who rebuke their evil. As they gain influence, they will use every means at their disposal against those who oppose their immorality: ridicule, threats, loss of jobs and business, court suits, fines, and eventually imprisonment, violence, and even death.
Isaiah 5:20—Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. What better description could there be for those who would grant the honorable relationship of marriage to those who practice the corrupt, perversion of homosexuality?
Psalms 11:3—If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Marriage is fundamental to the family, to child raising, to the nation, and ultimately to the foundation of any civilized society. When it is destroyed, what can we do?
We must not practice personal vengeance, let alone violence, against those who advocate or practice homosexuality! Nothing in the Scriptures or in this study should ever be taken to justify such means. See Luke 6:27,28,31-33; Matthew 5:21,22,38ff; Romans 12:17-21; Leviticus 19:17,18; 1 Peter 2:21-23; 3:8,9.
But here are some things we must do to the best of our ability:
Remember, that regardless of what happens in this life, ultimately the victory belongs to God and His people. The Lord Himself will deal with those who oppose truth—Matthew 5:10-12.
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