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.
This isn't an issue of federalism and states' rights, as some have tried to frame it. The union of one man and one woman is an institution established by our Creator, not merely a tradition that we're free to experiment with. A constitutional amendment would ensure that the definition of marriage is protected throughout this country. That's why we need leaders who understand what's at stake and are willing to do something about it -- not just give it a mention during the campaign season in the hope that everyone will soon forget what they said -- and not those who say they are against same-sex "marriage" and then refuse to vote for the only thing that will stop it.
Whatever you do tomorrow, be sure to vote.
For further reading and information:
Jeffrey Bell and Frank Cannon, "Courting the Gay Vote," Weekly Standard, 1 November 2004.
Chip Johnson, "Flash point for black churches: Gay marriage issue may benefit GOP," San Francisco Chronicle, 27 September 2004, B1.
Kay S. Hymowitz, "I Wed Thee . . . and Thee . . . and Thee," Wall Street Journal, 18 October 2004, A18.
Sen. John F. Kerry, "Beyond the marriage debate," The Advocate, 3 September 1996.
BreakPoint Commentary No. 041014, "Seven Brides for Two Brothers: Marriage and Foolish Consistency."
BreakPoint Commentary No. 041011, "Skewed Language: The Media's 'Pet Cause.'"
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040517, "Follow the Leader?: Same-Sex 'Marriage,' Mass., and the Rest of Us."
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040614, "Fudging with Federalism: FMA and the States."
Mark Steyn, "Polygamy. Coming Soon." Western Standard (reprinted at MarkSteynOnline), 13 September 2004. Scroll down.
Hadley Arkes, "Kerry's Contradictions," National Review Online, 13 July 2004.
Stanley Kurtz, "'Marriage' Mayhem," National Review Online, 20 May 2004.
Watch the video clip of Chuck Colson at the "Mayday for Marriage" Rally.
Visit BreakPoint's Sanctity of Marriage resource page.
See Chuck Colson's "Top Ten Moral Issues Facing America."
Call 1-877-322-5527 to request the BreakPoint CD "Setting Your Moral Compass," in which BreakPoint addresses the key moral issues of our day.