‘Gay marriage’ has received prime space in much of Australian secular media lately. That will no doubt please the pro-homosexual lobbyists who reason that the more the media pays attention to this issue, the more the readers will begin to accept homosexuality as a normal part of society. One effect of the media hype around this issue has been that the Australian government, which has defended the traditional view of marriage as being between a man and woman, has felt pressured to let the population vote on whether to allow ‘gay’ marriage. Although that might seem to be a neat political strategy to take the heat off the government, it is really a shirking of the government’s God-given responsibility.
Whilst there is nothing necessarily wrong with asking the people to vote on some practical issue, such as daylight saving, there is something wrong in letting the will of the majority of people, rather than the will of God, decide on a matter of principle. The government has been elected to determine policies and must do so in recognition that its prime responsibility is to abide by God’s Word. It is responsible first to God who ordained and empowered rulers so that society would function decently and in good order in accordance with the norms and values shown in His Word, the Bible. A popular vote on matters of principle lets the majority, rather than God, determine what is right.
Many proponents argue in favour of ‘gay marriage’ on the need for so-called equal rights between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Their opponents, on the other hand, have tended to counter this and defend traditional marriage on the need for equal rights for children who, they argue, have the right to a mother and father rather than two parents of the same sex. However, in both cases the fundamental question of God’s rights has been left out of the picture.
We need to keep in mind that at root the promotion of homosexuality through such things as ‘gay marriage’ is nothing but the consequence of unbelief, a fruit of the notion that there is no God, no afterlife, no heaven, no hell and hence no obligation to abide by values based on God’s Word. If there is no God then the Bible is a lie and the values based on God’s Word lose their authority. Then there are no longer any absolutes and we are tossed to and from by the winds of change and the unpredictable sentiments of a godless society.
But God is there. And it is His name and the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, that needs to be confessed first of all. Instead, the defenders of traditional marriage have tended to focus on pragmatic arguments. They have pointed, for example, to the life of animals to show the importance of offspring having both a mother and father. They have referred to research illustrating how homosexuality is associated with high levels of disease and how same-sex parenting can have traumatic effects on children. They have exposed the marketing strategies, the verbal abuse and the bullying tactics used by the pro-gay brigade to silence those who disagree with their agenda. But whilst all this has relevance, we are called first to confess the name and rights of almighty God.
That is the God, the creator and upholder of the universe, who is pressing all of world history on to the great day of Christ’s return, before whom everyone will one day bow and to whom everyone must give account. It is He who has revealed in the Bible that marriage must be between a man and woman, as shown when God gave Eve to Adam (Gen. 2:22) and when He told us how that relationship should function (Eph. 5). It is He who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of its homosexual practices (Gen. 19), warned the Israelites “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman” (Lev. 18:22), added that people who do this have “committed an abomination” (Lev. 20:13), and called homosexual practices unnatural and shameful (Rom. 1:26-28). And it is He who has ordained that governments are to be His representatives in the public sphere, to maintain the Christian foundations on which Australia as a nation was established and to firmly oppose those who seek to undermine the Christian laws in society. That is their God-given duty.
Therefore let us, where we have the opportunity, encourage our parliamentarians to uphold, in accordance with their primary responsibility, the norms of God’s Word as they apply to the issues of the day. Moreover, in accordance with God’s command, let us pray for the government (1 Tim. 2:1,2), honour and obey it (Rom. 13) without disobeying God (Acts 5:29) and, to the extent we are able in our walk and talk, expose the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). And let us, in sharp contrast to those who walk in darkness, walk in the light, obeying God’s commandments and rejoicing in the glorious riches and eternal perspective of belonging, through grace, to our Saviour Jesus Christ (Mt 10:32).