I’m proud of what’s been happening in Alabama this week. Judges, for the past three days, have been refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples after Federal Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Federal District Court in Mobile declared Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Monday was the effective date of her ruling. On Sunday night, Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore, instructed Alabama’s probate judges to refuse to honor the order of Judge Granade and refrain from issuing the marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It is difficult to take a moral stand in opposition to the ruling of a federal justice and the judges who have made that decision deserve the support of Christians. They have acted in Daniel fashion and may face some of the lion’s-den consequences that come with standing against such an edict.
I’m ashamed of what’s been happening in Alabama. More specifically, I am ashamed of what’s happened in my home district of Madison County where sixty marriage licenses were issued on Monday alone to same-sex couples. By the end of that day, 42 same-sex ceremonies had been conducted at Huntsville’s Big Spring Park alone. I doubt there’s been a Monday in recent history when so many “marriages” have taken place. I’m ashamed of Madison County’s Probate Judge Tommy Ragland, who commented “We’re issuing them. It’s just another day to me.” (All of this in a state in which 80% of voters recently voted to ban same sex marriage.)
It was not, in reality, just another day. It was a day for God’s people to mourn; a day when a segment of society fraudulently took something that does not belong to them. God is the creator and owner of marriage. He created its constituents (male and female), defined it (Genesis 2:24) and performed the first marriage ceremony in the Garden of Eden. It is not a light matter to mock God as was publicly and blatantly done in Big Spring Park on Monday. In fact, it is not successfully done in the long run. (Galatians 6:7). There will be negative consequences, sorrowful ones…some in this life, and unthinkable ones in the life to come. Sometimes, in my spiritual immaturity, I wish that people could get a temporary foretaste now—just a little sample—of eternal punishment, so they could, knowing the stored-up wrath of God, repent of their evil deeds before it is too late. The experience would be an awakening. Listen to the context surrounding the discussion of the sin of homosexuality from Romans 1.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them…Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them.
This is still the very clear word on the subject of homosexuality from the Creator of marriage. It is un-get-around-able for people who believe in the veracity of the Scriptures at all. No matter how politically correct we become, no matter how many television shows glorify the sin, no matter how many times the “heroes” of our culture tell us that “sexual orientation” is not a choice, no matter how many churches ordain homosexual priests, the God of this universe still describes homosexuality as “vile affection,” a sin “worthy of death.” The celebrations in Big Spring Park and elsewhere around the state on Monday were jubilant parties centered around a sin that takes people to hell. I Corinthians 6:9 places the centerpiece of those celebrations squarely in a list of sins which, without the washing and justification of penitence and baptism, keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God. I understand that “sin” is an old-fashioned word. But sin and it’s ramifications for our eternity will, on one final day, be startlingly relevant.
I have known and loved people whose lives have been ruined or lost in consequence of the sin. My husband and I have counseled with young people who have been tempted by or participated in the sin. Our hearts have been broken as we have seen the hurt that has accompanied it. But just because we are touched by the plights of those who’ve been overtaken in this sin, does not mean we can stop calling it sin. When we stop calling it sin, we stop helping people resign it. Love demands that we do all within our power to help those involved find a space of repentance and forgiveness (even if the culture hates us for doing so.) We do not love those who commit sin when we fail to warn them of its consequences. Because of the price our God paid at Calvary to atone for sin, we must realize its blackness, humbly work in our own lives to overcome it and do all we can to enable others to defeat sin of all kinds. We cannot, as Christians, support same-sex marriage. To do so is to take liberties with something that does not belong to us.
It’s late. Who would have thought, even one year ago that in 2015 there would come a day in Huntsville, AL in which 60 marriage licenses would be issued to same-sex couples? Not I. Some have warned that this judge’s ruling will open the front door for our ministers to face lawsuits due to their refusals to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. We must pray, vote and speak out responsibly at this critical juncture. I believe that front door is only a few steps away. In fact, we are already on the porch.