The United States Supreme Court has taken on the task of deciding one of the more far-reaching moral issues of our lifetime. Should same-sex marriage become the law of the land? Whatever their ultimate decision turns out to be, it will shake the foundations of our society.
There is a question that has been largely ignored in this debate – or perhaps marginalized. It is the question: Is this primarily a legal issue or a moral issue? Those on the side supporting same-sex marriage have tried to frame this debate as a legal issue in the courts of our land and an issue of fairness in the courts of public opinion. Those who oppose redefining marriage have largely abdicated the moral argument and tried to argue this case on a legal basis, perhaps because they are afraid of how they will be judged in the court of public opinion.
But make no mistake about it – this is a moral issue that will require a moral judgment.
To say that prohibiting marriage between two people of the same-sex is wrong is a moral judgment. It is also a moral judgment to say that sanctioning marriage between two people of the same-sex is wrong. No matter which way you dice this issue it comes down to a question of morality – not legality. The legal issue will always be undergirded by the moral question. The very concepts of right and wrong presuppose a standard of morality.
Laws by their very nature are based on that standard. Why do we have laws prohibiting murder, polygamy, incest, speeding and a host of other issues? We have them because we believe that those actions are not only harmful to society (another moral judgment) but at their very core they are immoral. As a society we believe that it is not only unsafe to drive 60 mph past an elementary school as children are walking home from school – it is immoral. The argument that we need to keep morality out of this discussion is bogus. You can’t have a law without making moral judgments.
When the Supreme Court announces their decision, they will not only determine the definition of marriage in our country, they will determine the moral direction of our country. And no amount of legal jargon can change the inevitable. Legal decisions do not exist in a vacuum. They determine actions, influence world views and teach the next generation what our society views as right and wrong.
God has made it clear that righteousness is a good thing for nations. Proverbs 14:34 says Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. The nine members of the Supreme Court, from a secular perspective, are the gatekeepers of the moral culture of our nation. They need to accept the fact that they will determine the moral course that we will follow and make a decision that not only stands up to legal scrutiny but is in the best interest of the moral future of our country.
Stay in the Word