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“Humans Don’t Create or Define Marriage. God Does:” John Piper’s Thoughts On The Minnesota Marriage Amendment

Posted on May 25th, 2011 Culture,marriage,Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

John Piper, the influential and wise Christian preacher, recently wrote an insightful blog post about the opportunity Minnesota voters will have in 2012 to define marriage as one man and one woman in their state constitution (Piper is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis).

Here is one salient point from his post, urging us to use accurate terminology in defining marriage:

I don’t think we should use the term “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage.” I think in our everyday discourse, we should say “so-called gay marriage” or “so-called same sex marriage.” I would encourage politicians, pastors, and people to adopt this simple habit.  The reason is that in God’s eyes, there simply is no such thing as so-called “gay marriage.” It does not exist. It cannot be made to exist by desires or decisions or language or laws. God ordained marriage with the words: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage is the union of a man and a woman in a lifelong covenant as husband and wife.

Piper then goes on to discuss how the Biblical theology of marriage should apply to human law and human societies, to protect and benefit everyone.  Ultimately, there is really only one alternative to God’s design for marriage –that of societies abandoning a common and uniform definition of marriage and family, and instead allowing every person to do whatever they want to find self-fulfillment in the areas of sex, family and children.  That may sound enlightened and liberating, but in actual practice, it is not.  The consensus of human experience throughout the centuries shows that many people suffer tragically by the hands of individuals seeking their own personal sexual fulfillment absent significant societal restraint. In order to minimize human suffering and maximize human fulfillment, the Bible instructs all of us to have sex only within a marriage of one man and one woman in which both spouses commit to be sexually faithful to each other for life. There is no “separation of church and state” violation here, because a society that adopts the Biblical definition of marriage protects and benefits all people, just like the Bible’s prohibitions on stealing and lying protect and benefit everyone (not just Christians) in a society that adopts them.  A good public policy idea is still a good idea, and is not “tainted” and constitutionally ”off limits” because it comes from the Bible.

John Piper’s entire post is worth reading.   One additional note:  John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist, is also spearheading efforts to help those devastated earlier this week by the destructive tornadoes that ripped through the northern part of Minneapolis, one of the poorer areas of the city.  John Piper and the Christians he leads strive to implement all that the Bible teaches to help and love others, whether it is urging them to adopt the right definition of marriage or helping his neighbors who are suffering.


ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

Minnesota House Approves Marriage Amendment; Voters Now Will Decide Its Fate

Posted on May 22nd, 2011 Culture,marriage,Uncategorized | No Comments »

     The Minnesota House of Representatives late Saturday night approved an amendment to the state Constitution defining marriage as one man and one woman only. The proposed amendment, passed earlier by the state Senate, will now appear on the ballot in November 2012. Voters must approve it for it to become part of the state Constitution.

   House members voted mainly along party lines, although some voted against the majority of their party.  Four Republicans voting against the marriage amendment, and two Democrats voting in favor of the marriage amendment.  In the state Senate, one Democrat joined all of the Republican state senators to approve the amendment.

     This historic vote became possible last November when Minnesota voters unexpectedly gave Republican legislators a majority in both houses of the state legislature.  Democrats had promised in their campaigns to legalize same-sex marriage, as well as other measures, but Minnesota voters denied them the majorities in the legislature they had held for years.  The governor has no role in the amendment process, so Democratic governor Mark Dayton, narrowly elected last November and who strongly supports redefining marriage to include same sex couples, can do nothing as governor to stop the measure from going to the ballot.

    Marriage measures have appeared on the ballot in 31 states, and voters in all 31 states have rejected redefining marriage to include same sex couples. Thirty of the 31 statewide votes involved approval of state constitutional amendments. In the 31st state, Maine voters in 2009 used the referendum process to repeal a state law the legislature enacted to redefine marriage.


ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

Breaking News – Minnesota Senate Approves Marriage Amendment to State Constitution

Posted on May 11th, 2011 Culture,marriage,Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The Minnesota Senate today approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman by a vote of 38-27. The Minnesota House of Representatives plans to take up the amendment before the end of the session, which ends in two weeks. If the House approves the amendment, which is expected, Minnesota voters would vote on the proposed amendment in the November 2012 election.  Passage of the marriage amendment became possible after Republicans gained control of both Houses of the Minnesota Legislature after the November 2010 elections.


ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

Breaking News – U.S. Navy Rescinds Order Allowing Chaplains To Perform Same-Sex Ceremonies at Military Bases

  The U.S. Navy has rescinded an order permitting military chaplains to officiate at same-sex weddings on military bases, according to the Associated Press.    The news story states in part:

 WASHINGTON (AP) – Under pressure from more than five dozen House lawmakers, the Navy late Tuesday abruptly reversed its decision that would have allowed chaplains to perform same-sex unions if the Pentagon decides to recognize openly gay military service later this year.

In a one-sentence memo obtained by The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, said his earlier decision has been “suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination.”

The Navy said its lawyers wanted to do a more thorough review of the legal decision that allowed Navy chaplains to receive training to perform civil unions on military bases, but only in states where same-sex unions are legal.

The full AP story is here.  

This news story shows that last December’s repeal by Congress of the federal law prohibiting people who engage in homosexual conduct from serving in the military (sometimes called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or DADT) raises major questions on how it  interacts with the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriages as one man and one woman for all purposes of federal law.  And Congress never really debated or discussed the possible ”domino effect” of repeal of DADT on DOMA.  The hasty and rushed Congressional debate on repeal of DADT described the people affected as individuals who engage in homosexual conduct, and did not examine how the repeal would affect same-sex couples.  This narrow casting of the debate on the DADT repeal obscured important legal and practical questions. For example, if the military allows open homosexuals to serve in the military, must the military open base housing for married couples to same-sex couples if they are legally married in one of the states or nations that allows same sex marriage or same-sex civil unions?  Must it extend military benefits to same-sex couples?  What about allowing same-sex weddings in military chapels?  Federal DOMA would seem to prevent those changes, but  Congress never debated how the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would affect federal DOMA.  The Navy’s earlier order permitting same-sex weddings in military chapels shows the consequences of rushing through the repeal of DADT. Congress should not fully implement the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell until it has fully investigated how it will affect federal DOMA.


ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

Breaking News – Paul Clement Leaves King & Spalding After The Law Firm Drops DOMA Defense

This morning, former Solicitor General Paul Clement resigned from the law firm of King and Spalding after it caved in to pressure from activists and dropped its contract with the House of Representatives to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. We had reported earlier on the House of Representatives hiring Paul Clement  and King and Spaulding to defend DOMA here.  The House was forced to step in to defend DOMA after President Obama and the Department of Justice announced that they would no longer defend DOMA in court.

Although Clement has left the law firm, he will continue to defend federal DOMA.   Ed Whelan has weighed in with some excellent commentary here.  It is appalling that King and Spalding would capitulate to the brute ideological pressure of those who seek to redefine marriage.   DOMA is sound public policy, and there are many grounds on which to defend DOMA as constitutional.


ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

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