On the Definition of Marriage

For some time now I have not written in this blog. With each post in the past, I have tried to find something uplifting to write about. But I am a news junkie—after more than 42 years as a working journalist—and I have found it difficult to see uplifting things in the events unfolding in our world today. Undoubtedly, in order to find the good, I need to look more closely, at the near view rather than the cosmic view.

More about that in an upcoming post. But this time I am going to tackle a very difficult topic from current events. I know there will be many who disagree, and feel strongly that they have the right on their side. We will simply have to say that the freedom of religion we all enjoy allows for differing viewpoints.

Call 2 BWI believe that God defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman when he gave Adam and Eve to each other and put them in the Garden of Eden as man and wife. I believe that men and women have differing but complementary roles in marriage—roles that overlap in many ways. I believe that neither one is more important, nor meant to be more powerful in the relationship, than the other. I believe that the original marriage vow was eternal, and that all others between God’s children were meant to be that way too. But He allows us to enter into a less enduring form of marriage when we are not prepared to make eternal covenants with a marriage partner and with Him. There are on this earth people authorized to administer eternal marriage covenants. When a man and woman marry by any other authority, they are entering a marriage with an automatic divorce clause—“till death do us part.”

In marrying, they form a new family. It is a union in which they can accomplish things in life that cannot be achieved in any other relationship. In their complementary roles, they can accomplish things together that could never be accomplished by two partners of the same sex. If they become parents, they can each contribute strengths, guidance, and emotional inheritance that will be essential to their children.

Is it possible for parenting to be successful where there are not a man and a woman in the home? Yes—and sometimes there is no other way. I was reared by a single mother, a widow who never remarried after my father was killed when I was 21 months old. I feel that God strengthened her according to the need. I also had two fine grandfathers and several uncles as good male role models. But there were definitely times when having a father would have eased my way through areas that were difficult for me. It has taken many years of marriage and fatherhood to learn some things that I might have known early on if I had seen my father and mother acting in partnership together.

I believe the eternal, God-given definition of marriage cannot be changed by custom and tradition, majority opinion, or any civil authority on earth—not even the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is not an effort to pick a quarrel with anyone who believes differently. I also believe that individual moral agency is a sacred, God-given right. Each of us has the right to choose how we direct our lives, and the responsibility to accept what comes as a result. If anyone wishes to live with a partner of the same sex, it is not my right to deprive him or her of that choice. I believe that every individual should have the right to choose who will administer his or her affairs if there is a need, who will inherit any belongings or estate. I would defend the right of every individual to enjoy housing, employment, and the other privileges of a free society without discrimination because of either sexual orientation or religious belief.

In current events, however, I see evidences of bigotry and intolerance on both sides. I see defenders of traditional marriage who want to punish people making other choices. I see advocates of same-sex marriage who want to punish and ostracize those who do not agree with their view. I foresee attempts to use the law to punish those who do not accept, spiritually and intellectually, that which some say is now “the law of the land.”

The law of the land is not going to supersede the law of God, in my view. But others may see things differently.

I doubt that any amount of cudgeling with philosophy, social theory, or the law is going to change the views that each of us holds dear. Can we simply acknowledge that we do not agree on this issue and move on? There are still problems of human deprivation, unconscionable violence, poverty, and environmental degradation that need to be resolved if we can put aside our differences. Can we still be friends and move forward together?

4 thoughts on “On the Definition of Marriage

  1. Carmen MORENO

    A very good read. I’m in total agreement on your definition of marriage from a religious viewpoint. We , as Roman Catholics also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman only.
    However, I’ve always believed in the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court decision dealt with civil rights, not religious rights. We, who practice a faith of our choice, know that , if we choose to remain faithful to the practices that our faith teaches, then we must abide by the rules that the hierarchy of that church sets. Some religions oust members if they don’t abide by the rules.
    I believe faith is a God given gift. Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with that gift. So nonbelievers go about their lives without any concern for religious definitions.
    My only point is let’s separate church and state. I know there are many religions who will never bless a union between two people of the same sex… including my own religion. I also know some Christian religions will and are already blessing those unions.
    So for those of us who are believers, we’ll continue to practice and remain faithful to our religious beliefs.
    Regardless of our religious beliefs , civil right are civil rights and we should all respect those rights.
    Let’s continue to agree to disagree.

    1. Don L. Searle Post author

      I don’t believe we disagree on this, Carmen. I too believe in the complete separation of church and state. That, in fact, is a tenet of my faith. My comment about the Supreme Court does not suggest that we should disobey, but that we recognize the Supreme Court is not necessarily the arbiter of moral law in God’s eyes, and we will in the end be answerable to Him for our behavior.


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