Why Christians Should Stop Opposing Gay Marriage: The Consistency Argument

The effort to legalize gay marriage in America would seem to pit Bible-believing conservative Christians against morally relativistic, often anti-religious liberals—at least, that’s the headline. But legalizing gay marriage in America isn’t about morality. It’s about whether this issue, moral or not, should be legislated.

I’m a theologically conservative Christian. I believe gay marriage is morally wrong (and will until I hear a compelling argument from Scripture that convinces me otherwise). I also believe that we should not be legislating the morality of gay marriage, any more than we should be legislating the morality of premarital sex, marital infidelity, or divorce.

The reason for this is that the Christian position on gay marriage isn’t specifically about homosexuality; it’s about sexual sin. This point is vital to the Christian position on homosexuality. The Bible does not condemn homosexual people; it condemns the homosexual lifestyle. It does not state that being a homosexual is wrong, but rather that the practice of homosexuality is a sin. The response of the Church to homosexual people, therefore, is not to devalue the person, but rather to articulate that person’s call to celibacy. The crucial point that differentiates consistent moral conviction (which is good and right, and every Christian should have) from hypocritical prejudice and discrimination (which every Christian should avoid) is that this is the same call placed on anyone tempted to sexual sin. Whether you be single and tempted to enter into a sexual relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend (or, as may be the case in our culture today, one or more sexual partners with whom you may have a casual or even nonexistent relationship); married and “in love” with another man or woman (or, vice versa, in love with a married man or woman); or even the less common sexual sins, such as being sexually attracted to a child or a family member (see 1 Corinthians 5); the response of the church is the same: when faced with sexual sin, God calls you to purity through celibacy. Only when viewed this way is the Christian objection to homosexuality a moral one, rather than a prejudiced and discriminative one.

When I was a sports blogger, I was constantly challenging my fellow bloggers to be consistent in their views—so much so that some of them occasionally became irritated with me. “You and your consistency! Always with the consistency! Consistency, consistency, consistency!” I responded that inconsistency in their positions revealed one of two things: either they did not actually believe at least one of their own claims, or their position was one of convenience rather than principle—that is, they held that position because it fit with their preexisting bias and helped them further their agenda, not because it adhered to a principle they valued. Neither option was worthy of respect, and neither lent much validity to their position, so I insisted upon consistency.

Inconsistency reveals a lack of principle. Treating different sexual sins differently reveals that your position is based not on an underlying moral principle that is true regardless of the specifics, but rather on targeted prejudice toward a specific group.

If your opposition to legalized gay marriage in the United States is based on moral principle, then that principle must apply equally to all sexual sin. If you insist that gay marriage should be banned because it is a sexual sin, then you must also insist that all other sexual sins be banned by law as well.

Are you willing to criminalize infidelity, divorce, and premarital sex, complete with appropriate legal punishment? How about lust, which Jesus says is equally sinful? I highly doubt it. And if you’re not, then you’ve no grounds on which to advocate legally banning gay marriage.

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6 Responses

  1. TC says:

    1 Corinthians 6:9New King James Version (NKJV)
    homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God

    • So, I take it you didn’t actually bother to read the essay—since you referenced a passage that _*applies equally to not just homosexuality, but a variety of other issues_* as well. And conveniently, you’re not arguing to legislate those other issues. Just homosexuality.

      Here is the larger textual context from which you plucked this verse:

      • Anton Warren says:

        Hi, I’m in Australia and same sex marriage is a major issue here at the moment, the majority actually don’t want same sex marriage, but the homosexual agenda are trying to slap down and silence a plebiscite. About 30 years ago Lionel Murray legislated ‘no-fault’ divorce because he hated religion’s grip on society. Our best prime minister in history, John Howard, hated this idea. Defamation is illegal, either slander or libel. Also under the Australian Privacy Act 1991, publishing details that are of a private business nature is also defamation. We have an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol), if you are drunk you cannot be served and locked up and put in the “drunk tank”. Thou shalt not steal implies that we can own personal property.

  2. ladyinla says:

    Thank you for your articles on this topic. You articulated views which I have tried to share with my spiritually/religiously conservative friends about my stand on gay marriage. You said it much better than I have. May have to quote you.

  3. Marier Villarreal says:

    This really opened my eyes even more. I’ve known that lust is a sin, so it is practicing homosexuality and such. So why do we think lust is more acceptable and there is no law banning it? I feel much better now, because I believe there is free will and yet, I thought same-sex marriage should be banned. I examined the inconsistency, but I wasn’t sure if I was going pro-society or pro-Bible.
    This article really helped me in deciding to allow it to happen, just like God allows sin to happen, because it’s all of our free will.

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