Chuck Colson

As we prepare to vote tomorrow, Christians need to make sure we're fully educated about the issues that really matter and about the candidates' positions on those issues. We also need to prioritize those issues. We've already talked about the life issue last week and why it's so fundamental. Today I want to talk about another issue that should be at the top of our lists: the preservation of marriage.

The polls are showing that a majority of Americans favor defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That means a lot of politicians are paying lip service to traditional marriage this year. But we can't just listen to what they say when the cameras are on. We have to research what they've said throughout their careers, look at their voting records, and figure out where they really stand. For instance, do they favor civil unions or other similar arrangements, even as they're arguing against same-sex "marriage"? Do they favor or oppose a constitutional amendment banning same-sex "marriage"? Nearly all the incumbent members of Congress are on record with a vote for or against an amendment.

Don't assume that you know where a politician stands. Even some pro-marriage activists and politicians have argued against the Federal Marriage Amendment, because they think the issue should be left to individual states.

That argument is, however, a recipe for trouble. The idea that we can and should simply "leave it to the states" is disingenuous for two reasons. First, the courts would continue to strip voters of their rights if statewide votes on same-sex "marriage" don't go the way the judges want. That's not just speculation -- it's based on what courts across the country have already been doing. Look at what happened in Massachusetts this year when the court ordered the state legislature to allow same-sex "marriage" before the citizens could vote on a pending state constitutional amendment. State definitions of marriage are being challenged, and courts will find ways to recognize same-sex "marriages" that occur in other states, no matter what a state law says.

The second, and more important, reason that we can't just "leave it up to the states" is that it is not up to any of us to define marriage. There are many issues that should be left to the states to decide; marriage is not one of them, however -- just as slavery was not one of them. To allow marriage to mean different things in different states makes no more sense than the situation in the 1800s where African-Americans were considered persons in some states and not in others.

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson was the Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon and served time in prison for Watergate-related charges. In 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, in collaboration with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families.
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