Twenty-six of the states within the USA have created constitutional bans on gay marriage. Forty-three of the states have constitutional amendments requiring that marriage is between a single male and a single female. Many of these bans are a result of the effort of American Christians. Prominent figures like Jerry Falwell have offered their arguments against the sexual orientation. In 1977, he supported the "Save Our Children" campaign based on "Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of homosexual recruitment of children and child molestation." Pat Robertson is another influential Christian who has offered his opinions of this sexuality, claiming that acceptance of homosexuality may result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombs, and even "possibly a meteor." [*1] In 2002, 82% of Americans claimed to be adherents of the Christian faith. [*2] Many of the churches in this country are opposed not only to the legalization of gay marriage, but towards acceptance or tolerance of those practicing this lifestyle. The Westboro Baptist Church, for instance, has been hosting the godhatesfags.com website for several years. When they're not too busy maintaining the site with new content, they can be found picketing the funerals of known homosexuals. [*3]
The arguments against homosexuality often find their reasoning from biblical scripture. Leviticus 18:22 is the most commonly cited of those, stating very clearly for its readers, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination." The New Testament offers its own resistance to homosexual orientation. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (NIV) Needless to say, much of the bigotry and hatred towards those with alternative, sexual orientations is originating from Christian beliefs. The primary religion of the population is influencing the constitution of the United States.
Even if the Bible should determine the letter of the law in this case, there are still many cases where implementing scripture into law would be socially impossible. For instance, in Matthew 19:4, Jesus says, "Haven't you read 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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Yet divorce is commonplace, even in the Catholic world where the word has been replaced with "nullification." In the United States, divorce occurs in 50% of first marriages, 67% of second marriages, and 74% of third marriages. [*4] Less than one hundred years ago, mobs and law enforcement have lynched homosexuals in this country, and now more than half of the population won't hold itself to the same scripture, only to the same religion. If the ban on homosexual marriages came by the influence of the Holy Bible, then what has stopped these crusaders from creating a prohibition on divorce? The only condition that Christ gives for divorce was fornication (Matthew 19:9). Should we fashion laws in this mold, outlawing divorce and forcing millions of couples into emotionally, sexually, or physically abusive relationships? Jesus would have it, but should we? The majority of Americans who enter marriage certainly wouldn't.
It would certainly be disastrous to abolish the institution of divorce. Without it, many people would be trapped into loveless and perhaps dangerous marriages. In this case, the social order has accepted a policy that adhered to maximizing the liberty and happiness of the individual, instead of a policy that was scripturally compatible. It is particularly odd, as well, that these patriarchs of Christendom, such as Falwell and Robertson, are more avid and zealous about enforcing the law of the ancient Jews than they are in defending the words of Christ. One would think that the words of Christ should be more important to a Christian. Imagine if there were other passages that Christians soon become active upon. In Ephesians 6:5 of the New Testament, we read, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." (NIV) Perhaps a new Christian, activist group will defend their holy text and begin on a war on the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, claiming that since it abolishes slavery it is an attack on their religion. Such a campaign differs in only small, instrumental ways from their present campaign to prohibit gay marriage. They often cite the argument that the legalization of gay marriage is an attack on the institution of marriage. Marriage may have some of its roots in Jewish law, but today it is an institution of the government. If we are to fully remove discrimination from society, then there must always be open access to the public institutions.
1. Common Dreams Newswire, http://www.commondreams.org/pressreleases/June98/062498e.htm