Politicians might try to steamroll same-sex marriage into law, but there are still some key questions.
Editor’s Note: Same-sex marriage continues to be a prominent issue in our society today. As church leaders, the way we engage the discussion is critical. In this post, Phil Moore, pastor of Everyday Church in London, offers insight on how the issue has been wronlgy framed. Our desire is to create a rich discussion in the comment section below. Has the same-sex issue been hijacked by political lobbyists? How should the church approach the issue?
If you believe the newspapers then it’s already been decided. The fight to legalize same-sex marriage has already been won.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, introduced a bill to the British Parliament, which will be debated on February 5, that is not being opposed by the opposition.
President Obama has used his second inauguration speech to signal that he also intends to legalize gay marriage in the U.S. through federal law.
The French President, Francois Hollande, has dismissed public protests over his support for same-sex marriage as the reactionary chattering of the no-longer-radical bourgeoisie.
But while politicians steamroll their proposals into law, they are ignoring some fundamental questions. Let me point out just three of the big mistakes that they are making:
Mistake #1: Everybody Knows That Same-Sex Marriage Should be Legalized.
Suppose we held a referendum that revealed this statement to be true. Suppose the majority of Britons and Americans actually did believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized — would that therefore make it right?
If the majority of Afghans voted that women should be barred from education, they wouldn’t therefore be right. When the majority of British people voted in the early 19th century that there was nothing wrong with slavery, campaigners didn’t stop arguing that the majority was wrong.
In fact, the essence of the pro-gay argument is that majority opinion has been wrong in the past on the issue of sexuality! Even in the purest of democracies, it is accepted that the majority opinion should be tested rather than turned into hastily drafted law. Consensus has long been the refuge of rascals, who attempt to stifle debate by claiming that the matter has already been decided.
What is becoming clear, anyway, is that the majority of people do not in fact back this major change to society.
Although the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, argued in last Sunday’s issue of The Times that redefining marriage will be a vote-winner for the conservatives, the real noise at the conservative head office is that of the large numbers of Tories who feel betrayed that this legislation was not in the party’s election manifesto. The British Youth Parliament has called on the government to drop gay marriage as a priority. In scenes reminiscent of the days before the war with Iraq, we are watching politicians make decisions without consulting those who elected them, only to regret their hastiness too late afterwards.