Over the last few weeks I have been flooded with questions concerning the upcoming opinion poll being sent out by the elected officials of our national government. And unless you just crawled out from under a rock, you too have heard more opinions on the issue of same sex marriage, or marriage equality, than you ever thought possible.
If you have made the choice to dive into this conversation, then you no doubt have the scars to prove how difficult it is to try and have a reasoned discussion on such an emotionally charged issue. As I have been wading through the questions and challenges of my friends and family, I too have seen just how unproductive and painful it can be to have these debates.
So instead of playing the game of lobbing opinions at one another, hoping to score points rather than have a logical discourse, I would like to address one of the unassailable facts that seems to have gone unnoticed in this whole debate.
No matter what the outcome of the upcoming plebiscite…
No matter the decision of the weak willed Parliament…
No matter the outcome of the appeals brought before the courts…
No matter what you or I think about the rightness of marriage equality…
Marriage will remain the same.
Marriage can be defined by the society at large as being something wholly other to what we now call marriage, and most likely it will, but no amount of revisionism will alter the fundamental truth of what marriage means.
Whether you believe in a god or not, whether you accept the validity of the Christian Bible or not, if you are an intelligent and reasonable person, you will at the very least agree that marriage has been given its definition prior to this moment in history.
In the creation account given in Genesis chapter 2, there is a clear description of marriage as that of a God given commitment between a man and a woman.
This simple definition of marriage has been altered and perverted throughout human history.
Many iterations of this covenant bond between a man and a woman have been proposed and accepted by various societies over the millennia, each with their emotional and cultural justifications. But none of these alterations of the foundational definition of marriage has changed its true nature.
Jesus Christ, speaking to those who would cheapen marriage to the point of being nearly meaningless, reminded his followers that marriage was a gift given to men and women from the Creator and not open to alteration, no matter how much we might wish.
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6
Jesus went on to tell those that were challenging the nature and definition of the marriage commitment that if they did not like the definition of marriage that they could simply choose to remain unmarried and therefore avoid the issue altogether.
Jesus did not change the definition of marriage to fit his cultural context. He could not have changed the definition of marriage because it had been established by the Creator and woven into the very fabric of human society.
Rather than waffle on for ages on the background of marriage, I will simply come to my conclusion.
The point I am making here is that the true definition of marriage cannot be changed or altered by the feelings and desires of our modern emotion driven culture.
The people will speak, the government will vote, the courts will decide, the rules will change. But marriage will remain the same.
The world will continue to unmoor itself from truth of all kinds, as it has always done.
Our wider culture will celebrate every step away from what it sees as restrictive traditions.
The world will continue to denigrate and defame anyone who does not gleefully go along with its wholesale dumping of morality.
None of these trends will change, no matter what gets reported concerning the plebiscite results.
However, for those still seeking to follow the wisdom of the biblical message and for those still seeking to follow in the steps of Jesus Christ, marriage will continue to be honored and practiced as it was given to us by the Creator.
Should the state revoke my authority as a minister of religion and a marriage celebrant because I cannot and will not alter the definition of marriage in my church, then I will continue to celebrate the gift of marriage as defined by the Creator with those who share and uphold this truth.
So, I give you my final word on this issue…
The meaning and definition marriage will stay the same no matter what feelings you and I might express on the issue.
It is simply not ours to change.