DOMA and Proposition 8

The Supreme Court ruled today on two major marriage issues. In both decisions they favored same-sex “marriage.” (I intentionally place quotation marks around marriage when used with same-sex because I do not consider it a marriage. To use the expression without qualification would mean I accept a redefined understanding of marriage, which I do not.)

The Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Specifically they determined that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to refuse to recognize a same-sex marriage that is legal in a state. They allowed to stand a law that protects states from being forced to recognize a same-sex union that is legal in another state. This federal Act (passed in 1996) defined marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” and it granted the right to states that they did not have to recognize other states’ same sex marriages.

In the second ruling, the Court ruled that that Proposition 8, which was voted in by California voters and which overturned the California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage, was determined unconstitutional.

Mohler’s conclusion is apt:

The Christian church does not ask the U. S. Supreme Court, or any other human court, what marriage is. Marriage is a pre-political institution defined by our Creator — for His glory and for human flourishing. Today’s decisions will create serious religious liberty challenges for all churches, Christian institutions, and Christian citizens in this nation. But the greatest impact of these decisions is the further marginalization and subversion of marriage. The destruction of marriage did not start recently, and it did not start with same-sex marriage, but its effects will be devastating.

Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response. We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.

Here are a few responses to the Supreme Court’s decisions:

Al Mohler, “Waiting for the Other Shoe” – The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage

Russell Moore, “What Did the Supreme Court Really Change Today?"

Ed Stetzer, “Prop 8, DOMA, and the Christian Response

Summit Ministries, “The Supreme Court’s Decisions on Marriage


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