As the body of Christ, believers are called to stand for righteousness and reach out to the world and spread the Word of God’s truth. The Church is described by Jesus as a city on a hill and the salt of the world. We are to be lights to a world in darkness and shine with the light of God’s Word. Our energies should be devoted to caring for the poor, the widowed, the orphans, and the needy, and addressing the needs of our country and culture through public policy and lawmaking. Most of the opportunities we get to be a light to the world come to us as individuals on the personal level such as evangelism, community outreach, and volunteer work. But there are some opportunities that come to the Church as a whole where it gets to shape the way our culture views certain issues and how the culture views God. The upcoming bill that will try to redefine marriage in the state of Maryland is one of those issues that requires the attention of the united body of Christ. To effectively address this issue will require believers to reach across denominational lines and pool resources to take a stand for what God has decreed in His Word and for righteousness.
The following is a statement released by the Catholic Archdiocese of Maryland relating to SB 116 to redefine marriage in Maryland:
The introduction of legislation to redefine marriage in our state should be recognized for what it is – a proposal to drastically alter a social institution that derives from our human nature as men and women. Our focus as a society should be on strengthening marriage, not dismantling it altogether, especially when the harmful effects of the erosion of marriage are so apparent. Given the daunting challenge of closing the state’s budget gap, our elected officials should focus instead on the pressing need to help all Marylanders find jobs, keep their homes, and feed their families.
Maryland’s long-standing law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is not an arbitrary recognition of one relationship among many possibilities. This recognition – bestowed on marriage by societies throughout human history – originates in a simple biological fact. The union of one man and one woman is the only human relationship capable of creating children and nurturing them together as father and mother.
It is that fact of nature that prompts government to grant a special status to marriage between a man and a woman. As the Maryland Court of Appeals stated in its 2007 ruling upholding Maryland’s marriage statute, “In light of the fundamental nature of procreation, … safeguarding an environment most conducive to the stable propagation and continuance of the human race is a legitimate government interest.”
Treating heterosexual and same-sex relationships differently is not unjust discrimination, and upholding the truth of marriage does not ignore the rights or the equal dignity of all human persons. Stripping marriage of its unique connection to parenthood erases from law the right of a child to a mother and father, and ignores an essential question of why government favors marriage between one man and one woman over all other relationships.
If our society is going to dismantle marriage, on what basis do we extend or limit a new definition to determine which relationships should receive special recognition from the government? The argument that we need to redefine marriage so that same-sex couples can receive benefits unravels when we consider the fact that many human relationships are based on the love and commitment of two people for one another, and that many good and generous people are raising children in nurturing environments that are different than the traditional nuclear family.
Redefining marriage is not a question of civil rights. It is clear that there are other avenues for granting certain rights and benefits to couples who are not married. Maryland has already granted many rights to domestic partnerships, such as medical decision-making, hospital visitation rights, and exemptions from real estate transfer and inheritance taxes. There are many ways to protect basic human rights; sacrificing marriage is not one of them.”
“The Archdiocese of Maryland has taken a strong stance against this bill to redefine marriage and they will be a crucial ally in the fight to oppose the bill. Despite the doctrinal differences between the Catholic and evangelical churches, both churches share the same views concerning the holiness of God and the moral standards He has called us to live by. If you feel personally led to speak out against SB 116 please contact your local church or denominational leadership and of course your legislative official.
The Church can’t afford to be passive on this issue and we’ve seen what can happen when the Church gets involved. We saw it happen in California when the gay marriage bill was repealed and earlier this year the Church was a major force in stopping the bill in the House. Also, pray that God would awaken in our lawmakers a sense of righteousness and pull on their consciences to draw them to do His will.