ChurchETHOS

Same-Sex Marriages Repealed in Maine

Posted in christian habits, christian thought, cultural relevance by Nathan Creitz on November 4, 2009
maine-question-one-signs

Image from politicsdaily.com

Last night, Maine became the 31st out of 31 states to vote down same-sex marriage. On the other hand, six states have legislated (forced?) same-sex marriage on its constituents through the judicial branch or the legislative branch. Maine’s repeal brings the total number of states that have legalized same-sex marriage back down to five.

I also find it interesting that there wasn’t as much hype about this from grassroots organizations and churches as there was in California last year. It appears that this was a quiet victory for conservatism with not much need for controversial activism. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t happy with some of the behavior by church leaders in California but here in Maine it seems that the churches in Maine were more civil and fair.

It’s also important to note that this is the first New England state that has had an opportunity to vote on same-sex marriage and it was turned down. Four of the six New England states allow same-sex marriage but only because of judges and politicians, never by a state-wide vote.

So, here are some questions for ChurchETHOS readers:

Are Americans living in the Dark Ages or the Enlightenment on this issue? Is same-sex marriage a civil right or not? Has the church responded appropriately to this social issue? How has the church conducted itself in Maine (respect, fairness, intolerance, etc.)? How SHOULD the church wrestle with the issue of same-sex marriage (personally, publicly, politically, pastorally, etc.)?

Please be respectful in your comments whether you are in favor of or oppose same-sex marriages. I will delete your comment if I find it offensive to people on either side of this issue. Therefore, if you want your voice to be heard find a way to do it with respect and grace.

Here are some news stories:

ABC

NYT

Boston Globe

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5 Responses

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  1. Adam Lehman said, on November 4, 2009 at 11.05 am

    You can debate and debate about homosexuality. Some say, “Look, it’s right there in the Bible in black and white.” Others say, “well, the culture of the Bible and the culture of our time are different.” People can – with integrity and faithfulness – seek truth and land on either side of the issue.

    But here is where I have an issue with how my brothers and sisters approach this issue. Grace. We’re to show grace to others. There is nothing that is supposed to be as evident about the Christian community as love. We’re to embody it in such a powerful, tangible way that we are to marked by love. We’re not to be marked by holiness or righteousness or biblical doctrine (though all those things are important). We are to be marked by love.

    I think you can land on either side of the issue and be marked by love. But that hasn’t been happening and that is the biggest problem.

  2. Lori Kurzius said, on November 4, 2009 at 5.48 pm

    “We’re not to be marked by holiness or righteousness or biblical doctrine (though all those things are important). We are to be marked by love.”

    Amen to this, Adam. I think I will put this statement in my profile. 🙂

  3. adam said, on November 5, 2009 at 6.30 pm

    grace is the appropriate christian response to daily life and interactions in all aspects of life but i don’t think many christians respond to politics with grace. i think we speak grace but vote black and white, which is not always right. the issue of homosexual marriage falls into the broader category of legislating morality…1) can it be done correctly? 2) should it take place? 3) at what point does legislation become legalistic? 4) is the federal government responsible for personal morality?

    historically, there have been many attempts to do this such as prohibition, illegal fornication and adultery, and other similar laws. some of this is very cut and dry such as stealing, murder, and rape, which are moral issues as well, but these other issues fall somewhere in between legally speaking. in my opinion, whether or not same sex marriage is legal or illegal will in no way affect how many people are living as homosexuals. it will not make our country more moral or christian…we are sinners in a fallen world and will continue to be so until Christ returns. should we as christians show those in this lifestyle love and try to help them find Christ? yes. would a law help with this? no…only personal examples and the demonstration of love.

  4. Wesley Braswell said, on November 6, 2009 at 12.23 pm

    Adam,

    I definitely get what you are saying. I agree in most part. I guess another question to consider is “Does the church sit idly by and watch the God created institution of marriage be perverted into something it should not be?” Living as Christ is so hard (that’s why only He did it). Extending love, grace, mercy, and peace should always be a part of the Christian’s main objective, but I feel there is also a time to defend the Truth (in a loving, gracious, merciful, peaceful way). The Church has set back (in the name of grace, but probably more accurately, apathy) and allowed too many things go by unchecked. Lost people are going to act lost, but by our lifestyle, actions, words, and yes, even polotical stances; Christians can model a different way. Matthew 5:16 says “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Our lifestyles should be attractive to outsiders. I would agree with you that many times the conduct of Christians about this issue and many others is not attractive. We must improve on this, but we also must let our lights shine. I believe your questions about legislating morality have some validity, but the fact is that it is being done. Jesus did not tolerate immorality. He extended grace, peace and love, but also threw the money changers out of the temple on at least two occasions and called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs”. It is such a fine line to walk and can only be done through surrender to the Spirit of God. I think that you would agree with me in that our goal is that our lights would shine and “they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

  5. Adam Lehman said, on November 6, 2009 at 1.22 pm

    @wesley.

    the church has already perverted “the God created institute of marriage” into something it shouldn’t be: a government agency. We’ve taken something that is – to christians – sacred and deeply personal and we’ve outsourced it to the government. As a pastor, there is nothing I do on behalf of the Body of CHrist – except at a wedding – where I have to say that the power that is allowing me to unite these people comes from the government.

    Here is my solution: the government can pass out “civil unions” to whomever they like (whether that is gays or straights or whomever) for the sake of taxes and recognition in the eyes of the government. However, churches can perform a “marriage” and unite whomever they deem appropriate (gays or straights or whomever). Thus, sacred matters aren’t put in the hands of the government, this frees up congregations to set their own “community” rules on marriage.

    And forget about that whole “perverting” marriage business. Until those who are fighting to outlaw gay marriage fight as hard to outlaw divorce, I can’t take them seriously.


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