Missouri Family E-News

May 12, 2015

             
Christians
Unite in Solidarity
Pledge on Marriage


Christian leaders from across the nation are signing onto a document pledging their active opposition to any decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to mandate so-called same-sex "marriage" upon the country. 

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver authored the "Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage," which has been endorsed by leading Christian voices such as Dr. James Dobson and Franklin Graham.

"Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not respect an unjust law that directly conflicts with higher law," the document states.  "A decision purporting to redefine marriage flies in the face of the Constitution and is contrary to the natural created order."

"As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law," the document continues.  "We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line."

Some media accounts have reported that the signers of the pledge have resolved to engage in active "civil disobedience."  Yet those words are found nowhere in the document.

Nonetheless, the pledge makes clear that its signatories will not comply with any government order that requires them to participate in the perversion of God's design for marriage.

"We are calling for peaceful resistance in the same way that Martin Luther King, Jr., resisted unjust laws in his time," Staver says.

The Marriage Pledge elaborates on the permanency of marriage as an institution.  "Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman precedes civil government. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage."

"As citizens united together, we will not stand by while the destruction of marriage unfolds in this nation we love," reads the solidarity statement.  "We pledge to stand together to defend marriage for what it is--a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children."

The document voices concern about the well-being of future generations of American children if the family is reconstituted by law.

"Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to any relationship other than marriage between a man and a woman sends the message that children do not need a mother or a father."

"As a policy matter, such unions convey the message that moms and dads are completely irrelevant to the well-being of children.  Such a policy statement is unconscionable and destructive."

Staver says Christians must be prepared to sacrifice much in defense of God's truth in this post-Christian era.  "This is a Bonhoeffer moment.  We talk often about Bonhoeffer, and we like to quote him.  But now it is time to act and live like him."

Joe Ortwerth, Executive Director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, is a signatory to the Marriage Solidarity Pledge. 


  

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Stakes are High
in Supreme Court Marriage Decision

The future legal and social status of marriage in the United States of America was the subject of high-level juridical debate in the nation's leading courtroom on April 28th.  Oral arguments were heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in a momentous case that will long be known as Obergefell v. Hodges.

The nine justices on the High Court heard an appeal of a decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the traditional marriage laws of the states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  Groups of homosexual "couples" are seeking to overturn that ruling, requesting that the Supreme Court issue a blockbuster decision redefining marriage nationwide to include same-sex unions.

The High Court has essentially three legal paths before it.  It could choose to:

1) Uphold and reaffirm the historic right of the states to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and to refuse to recognize any other union as a marriage.

2) Uphold the right of the states to issue marriage licenses only for unions of a man and a woman, but require states to recognize same-sex unions from other states.

3) Repudiate the longstanding right of states to define the institution of marriage, and establish the desire of any two persons to be legally "married" as a fundamental right which must be recognized and "licensed" in every state of the Union.

As expected, all eyes were on Justice Anthony Kennedy during the questioning of lawyers representing each side in this dramatic case.  Kennedy has become the deciding vote on a court almost evenly split between liberal activist judges and more conservative judges who tend to interpret the Constitution according to the intentions of its authors.

Justice Kennedy has been the driving force behind three previous decisions favorable to the homosexual rights cause.  He was a leading voice in opinions striking down a Texas law banning sodomy, a Colorado law prohibiting special rights for homosexuals, and a federal law limiting retirement benefits to traditional marriage partners.

During oral arguments by the plaintiffs, Kennedy noted that marriage has been only known as the union of one man and one woman throughout the history of the human race.  "The definition has been with us for millennia.  When we talk about millennia...I don't even know how to count the decimals.  It's very difficult for the Court to say, 'Oh, well, we know better.'"

Yet later during oral arguments by the defendants, Kennedy followed the line of non-legal reasoning he has enunciated before, asking why same-sex couples should not be able to embrace the "nobility" and "sacredness" of marriage.  Kennedy postulated that marriage bestows "dignity" on a relationship.

Chief Justice John Roberts made a central observation we have made often.  Roberts told the lead attorney for the homosexual couples:  "You're not seeking to join the institution [of marriage], you're seeking to change what the institution is.  The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite-sex relationship." 

Justice Samuel Alito posed the obvious question of what legal ramifications occur if marriage is redefined as a government recognition of expressions of emotional commitment.  Does that mean that there can be multiple partners in a marriage who share an emotional bond, or can marriage include two siblings who have shared the most intimate moments of their life together?

Justice Antonin Scalia reduced the debate to a basic question of constitutional jurisprudence.  "The issue, of course, is not whether there should be same-sex 'marriage,' but who should decide the point, he said."

Chief Justice Roberts also speculated on the political fallout from a Supreme Court mandate.  "If you prevail, there will be no more debate...It will have a consequence on how this new institution is accepted.  People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it's imposed on them by the courts."
Justice Roberts also pointed out that the right of states to define the marital relation would be undermined by forcing states to recognize same-sex unions ratified by other states.  "One state would basically set the policy for the entire nation."

Some of the justices confronted the legal reality that establishing same-sex "marriage" as a fundamental constitutional right will create an inevitable collision course with the religious freedom guarantees of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

"Is it conceivable that a minister who is authorized by the state to conduct marriages can decline to marry two men if indeed this court holds they have a constitutional right to marry?" Justice Scalia asked.  He voiced concern that there cannot be religious exceptions to constitutional guarantees.  Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, appearing on behalf of the Obama Administration, agreed that it would be an issue.

Justice Alito posed the question as to whether Christian institutions that refuse to acknowledge or accommodate same-sex relationships could lose their tax-exempt status.  He pointed out that the High Court had previously upheld action by the IRS to withhold tax-exempt status from institutions that opposed interracial relationships.  Once again, Solicitor General Verrilli admitted "it is going to be an issue."

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, issued the following statement on the day of the historic oral arguments.  We reprint that statement in its entirety because we cannot frame this grave issue any better:

"Today, the plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to take the extraordinary step of departing from all of recorded human history and forcing a redefinition of civilization's most fundamental human relationship on an unwilling nation."

"There is no broad social consensus, and there is no global consensus that society would be better served by redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.  To the contrary, America remains deeply divided over this issue, and if the Supreme Court forces a redefinition it will only further divide the nation."

"History has shown us that something so deeply rooted in nature itself cannot be erased by legal action.  A very large portion of the American population will not accept a redefinition of marriage by the Court.  The Court was unable to 'resolve' the issue of abortion for the nation in its Roe v. Wade decision, and the Court will not resolve this issue either."

"In 1973, the Court supercharged the abortion issue and forty-two years later it is an issue in every election from President on down.  A decision demanding the redefinition of marriage will be even more divisive as the freedom to live your life according to your beliefs is put in jeopardy for millions of Americans."

The Supreme Court is expected to render a decision in this case in late June.  We ask that you make this a continuing focus of persistent prayer.

Joe's Signature