The ongoing fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s “gay marriage” decision has renewed debate among officials that maybe the government should get out of the marriage business.
Alabama has been a hot-bed for the marriage debate ever since the high court pronounced same-sex marriage legal in its Obergefell v. Hodges decision. At the time, controversial former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore requested that probate judges reject same-sex marriage licenses. His posture on the issue led to his suspension before a failed U.S. Senate bid.
Alabama state legislators took up the denial of same-sex marriage licenses based on their convictions that they run contrary to Christianity. Rather than be forced to participate in gay marriage, a legislative push was made to end parts of the practice.
Alabamans Want to Remove Judges from Marriage
Led by Alabama Republican state Sen. Greg Albritton, the move would protect state judges from being either forced to issue same-sex applications or face punitive sanctions on par with Roy Moore.
“We would not have changed this had it not been for Obergefell,” Albritton reportedly said. “But without the change, the law remains in conflict with Obergefell. So, we got to make some changes to the law to come into compliance.”
The legislative change that state Sen. Albritton has pushed for would not necessarily end the governmental connection to marriage. It would, however, not require judges to issue them.
“No one particularly likes changing our law, I’ll tell you that,” Albritton reportedly said. “However, under the circumstances, it’s the best thing we can do.”
Albritton has repeatedly attempted to push the change through and it has cleared the Alabama state senate. It effectively reduces the marriage process to a couple filling out a sworn statement that they are of age, not currently married or blood relations. The form would simply be recorded.
But the shift away from traditional marriage has become a jumping off point for renewed debate about the legitimacy of government involvement in marriage altogether. While Christians recognize there are certain financial obligations related to marriage, it should remain between a man, woman and God.
Sen. Rand Paul Rejects Government Intervention in Marriage
Directly following the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, Sen. Rand Paul published an editorial in Time magazine that pointed to the acute problem with governmental involvement in marriage.
In his essay, the then-junior senator explains that the endorsement of same-sex marriage meant that “It seems some rights are more equal than others.” He followed that statement by saying “Marriage, though a contract, is also more than just a simple contract.”
“Some have argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling will now involve the police power of the state in churches, church schools, church hospitals,” Sen. Paul wrote. “This may well become the next step, and I for one will stand ready to resist any intrusion of government into the religious sphere.”
But government has taken a step much further than just protecting property and child-rearing rights in marriage. As Sen. Paul aptly points out in his Time magazine piece, government has now redefined marriage and appears to have taken control away from couples and religious institutions. Worse, government appears to be usurping the authority of God.
Why Government should be Kicked Out of the Marriage Business
Perhaps the key problems with government involvement in marriage are secularism and politics. These are not exclusive in any way. Non-Christians and entirely non-religious people are weighing in on what it means to be married. Their views are often not rooted in the religious foundations handed down to humans from God.
In a Family Research Center article, Andreas Kostenberger points out that marriage is far more than a person-to-person contract. It is a reflection of God’s love and not merely two people engaging in cohabitation.
“The Bible makes clear that, at the root, marriage and the family are not human conventions based merely on a temporary consensus and time-honored tradition. Instead, Scripture teaches that family was God’s idea and that marriage is a divine, not merely human, institution. The implication of this truth is significant indeed, for this means that humans are not free to renegotiate or redefine marriage and the family in any way they choose but that they are called to preserve and respect what has been divinely instituted. This is in keeping with Jesus’ words, uttered when his contemporaries asked him about the permissibility of divorce: “What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.”
Marriage, as Sen. Paul and others argue, is far more than a “contract.” Although property rights and child obligations are important, marriage is a covenant with God. Government has no business assuming the role of God by redefining this Holy union or enforcing its secular views.
~ Christian Patriot Daily