The “Respect for Marriage Act”: Is it Truly Respectful?

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The “Respect for Marriage Act”

Is it Truly Respectful?

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The “Respect for Marriage Act”: Is it Truly Respectful?

MP3 Audio (8.89 MB)

On December 13, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which requires same-sex marriages performed in any state to be recognized throughout the country.

It’s been reported that “the new law intends to keep gay marriage legal, should the U.S. Supreme Court ever decide to reverse its 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex unions nationwide. Similarly, the Respect for Marriage Act keeps interracial marriage legal should the Supreme Court revisit its 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down state laws barring the action” (Lawrence Richard, “White House Glows Rainbow Colors After Biden Signs Respect For Marriage Act,” Fox News, Dec. 14, 2022).

This legislation passed the Senate, with all the Democrats aided by votes of 12 Republican senators who were satisfied with an amendment to it adding purported religious protections. However, opponents argued that these supposed safeguards lacked real enforcement provisions, so that the law will result in unrestrained abuses.

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom: “On Nov. 29, the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act as amended with the insufficient protections for religious freedom. In doing so, the Senate rejected three proposed amendments that would have added more meaningful religious liberty protections to the bill” (Gregory Baylor, “What You Should Know About the Respect for Marriage Act,”, Dec. 14, 2022, emphasis added throughout).

Potential adverse consequences of the law

In describing potential adverse outcomes of the new law, an article in The Federalist warned that “Christians, Jews, Muslims, and anyone else who dares maintain that marriage is a lifelong conjugal union between one man and one woman—the definition of marriage for thousands of years . . . will be branded a bigot and driven from the public square and marketplace.

“Anyone who owns a small business related to the wedding industry . . . will be sued into oblivion if they refuse services to same-sex couples. Religious colleges and universities will lose their tax-exempt status. Religious institutions of every kind, if they hold to their teachings and traditions about marriage, will face an onslaught from the Department of Justice and the federal bureaucracy” (John Davidson, “The ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Is An Exercise In Tyranny, and Everyone Knows It,” Nov. 22, 2022).

The subjects of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage have been hotly debated in many countries. Over the past several years, “marriages” of same-sex couples have been recognized in 33 nations. Yet while legislators and judges in democratic countries have the power, with consent of the governed, to enact laws they believe are just, that does not make such laws truly just and acceptable in the eyes of God. Even though particular behaviors and actions may be accepted by the majority in society, that does not make them in any way good, healthy or desirable.

Deciding for themselves what is right and wrong

When God created the earth and all life on it, He said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But the perfect way in which He established things at that time is not how we find them now. Because when sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, everything changed.

What was perfect became contaminated. And since then the world has existed in a despoiled condition. Our first parents sinned by deciding for themselves what was right and wrong in eating fruit from the forbidden “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:15-16; 3:1-6).

From that time forward, each succeeding generation has followed the same unsound and harmful example by also doing what seemed right in their own eyes (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; see 21:2). Taking that pathway throughout history has resulted in the terrible anguish and misery the world has heaped on itself—prodded by the devil’s nefarious influence (Genesis 3:3-24; 1 John 5:19). All of this must be considered when appraising the relative “goodness” of anything, including decisions by lawmakers and judges to approve same-sex marriage as law.

The only way to know if something is truly correct is to examine it in the revealing light of God’s Word. For example, when considering the phrase “same-sex marriage,” we need to realize that only our Creator has the right to define the marriage relationship. And regarding homosexual activity itself, the Bible plainly describes it as sinful (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27).

The dangers of homosexual behavior

Of course, we should show compassion to those who have same-sex attraction and who struggle with temptation to pursue this lifestyle while striving to avoid it with God’s help. And we should have compassion to all who are deceived regarding this lifestyle and embrace it. Much research has revealed how perilous and destructive it can be.

For example, on March 9, 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed the following statement on its website: “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been rising among gay and bisexual men, with increases in syphilis being seen across the country. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men often get other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.” 

On Apr. 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted this statement on its website: “In the United States, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are the population most affected by HIV [human immunodeficiency virus].”

And Healthline.comreported: “Depression affects LGBT people at higher rates than the heterosexual population, and LGBT youths are more likely than heterosexual students to report high levels of drug use and feelings of depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people age 10 to 24 in the United States. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths in grades 7-12 are twice as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers” (Michael Kerr, July 2016).

An act that disrespects marriage—and its Creator

Homosexual behavior, which was not long ago labeled as immoral in many nations, is now essentially exempt from public criticism. If someone dares oppose it, he or she may be accused of promoting “hate speech.” Nevertheless, homosexual activity and all other sexual activity outside of proper marriage between a man and a woman are severe violations of God’s instructions, as He made crystal clear in the Bible (1 Timothy 1:9-10). Therefore, the “Respect for Marriage Act” clearly does not respect marriage—or God who made it.

Our eternal Creator established the divine institution of marriage and family so that human beings could learn to love one another as He loves them (Genesis 2:24). And He created sex as a means for a couple to conceive and bring children into a warm, tender and joyful family relationship (Genesis 1:28; 2:24; Malachi 2:15).

What a great blasphemy that lawmakers and governing leaders who have taken their oaths of office on the Holy Bible then turn around and effectively flush it and its words down the toilet, as they promote what it condemns and persecute those who stand with its truth and the God who gave it! 

Since dangerous, lawless forces are at work in our midst (Ephesians 6:12), we must remain vigilant against an increasingly lawless and immoral society (Matthew 24:12; Philippians 4:7). Let us choose now to keep standing for what is right, trusting not in the wayward words and ideas of men but in what the Supreme Authority of the universe reveals through His Word, the Holy Bible (2 Samuel 22:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). In doing so, we offer Him the profound honor and deep respect He and His revealed truth rightly deserve!