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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

‘Gay Marriage’ in The Heartland

While we were sleeping, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state’s ban on ‘gay marriage’ on grounds that it was unconstitutional. Most believers I spoke with in and around Iowa knew little if anything about the Court’s deliberation. Those who did seemed sleepy in their response. And uncertain. Even getting information about the case was difficult and yielded little. To most, ‘gay marriage’ seemed outside the realm of possibility in Iowa.Time to wake up. Marriage has now been redefined in the heartland: the ruling represents the mainstreaming of ‘gay marriage’ in the USA. As one activist put it: “If Iowa with its common sensibility can do this, why can’t we do this in other states in the country?”

Just as halting ‘gay marriage’ in CA inhibited such action elsewhere, Iowa’s brash judicial action will quicken the resolve of activists to overturn ‘gay marriage’ bans in other states.

How did a state in the heartland become only the third in the nation to redefine marriage for its citizens? And the first in the Midwest?

The answer lies in the power of gay legal activists who target states that look like good prospects. Like Iowa. In spite of its 10-year-old ‘gay marriage’ ban and ‘common sensibility,’ Iowa has a liberal political history, including gay adoption. Iowa also makes it hard for citizens to overturn any Supreme Court decision with a constitutional amendment. State lawmakers must approve any proposed amendment twice over a two-year period before it gets to voters. That means that the earliest Iowans can vote to overturn ‘gay marriage’ would be 2012!

Enter Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization. Vying for a date with the state Supreme Court, these activists in 2005 filed a lawsuit on behalf of six gay couples who could not marry in Iowa due to its ‘gay marriage’ ban.

A lower court heard the case in 2007 and ruled that the ban was unconstitutional due to the judge’s belief that ‘homosexuality is unchangeable’, that ‘gay parents will not impact the development of their kids’ and that ‘homosexuals are politically powerless.’ All false, especially the last point: gays in Iowa have Lambda Legal, the most powerful reps I know.

The lower court’s ruling was ‘stayed’ then appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case last January. I could tell by the hearings that the Court was more inclined toward Lambda Legal than the traditional voice. On Friday, the Court announced that it had unanimously redefined marriage. One decision by one court and the most basic institution of the state changes for all of its citizens.

Lambda Legal is currently servicing other states in passing ‘gay marriage’ provisions. In the Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin would be the most vulnerable to ‘gay marriage’ due to its liberal political traditions. Like Iowa, their Courts are primed for the likes of strategic activists like Lambda Legal.

 

What can we do?

1. Wake up! ‘Gay Marriage’ bans can be overturned. We need to be aware of what is going on in our states and take measures to ward off the strategies of groups like Lambda Legal.

2. We need Constitutional Amendments that define marriage for good. We can pray and fight for Iowans over the long haul as they begin the long push toward overturning the Court’s decision with one such amendment. The majority of Iowans and the rest of the US public are still not in favor of ‘gay marriage.’
3. Make the truth known about why marriage matters. Our focus is not ‘anti-gay’; it is pro-marriage. Tell the truth about how marriage best represents to kids; they need man and woman together in order to grow into wholeness. And how God can restore homosexuals to wholeness. If we don’t tell the truth in love, false justice built on false presuppositions advances.
4. Pray. This is in truth a holy war, based on love and reverence for God’s design and the Designer Himself. In a month, Desert Stream will release ‘Honor Marriage for the Good of All’ , a prayer-guide for churches who want to pray wisely for marriage in our land, while seeking God’s heart and strategy for broken people who need healing.
5. Seek true justice and compassion: in this Holy Week, let us pray that we might be please Jesus in surrender to His purposes, including His heart for marriage. Join Desert Stream this week as we pray and fast that neither New England nor other targeted states in the Midwest will fall to ‘gay marriage.’ Also, that the CA Supreme Court will uphold Prop. 8. (Its decision is not yet known.)”All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

“Since we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” (2Cor. 5:11)

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber.” (Romans 13: 11)

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Proposition 8 to be Heard Today

May I call you to pray with us in this hour? Today, the Supreme Court of CA will hear arguments against Prop. 8 (the ‘gay marriage’ ban that CA voters passed in Nov. last year), and why once more the will of the people should be overturned in favor of ‘gay marriage’.

Gratefully, the Prop. 8 people have put together a sound and smart defense, founded on the best of Judeo-Christian principles. I love these folks! They have refused to bash gays and have simply and virtuously upheld marriage for what it is. Pray for their clarity and objectivity, as they have already endured ceaseless slander. If you heard Sean Penn’s diatribe at the Academy Awards when he exhorted us ‘to anticipate our great shame and the shame of our grandchildren’ for upholding marriage, you glimpsed what CA’s intelligentsia is flinging at marriage supporters.

This is an occasion to endure such attack peacefully, and to continue in love to uphold the truth of marriage. To their great credit, the Prop. 8 people have done just that.

Today, the Supreme Court will hear a petition filed by three legal groups asking the Court to invalidate Prop. 8 on the grounds that voters did not have the authority to make such a change. The petition argues that Prop. 8 revised, rather than amended the Constitution, and therefore first should have been submitted to the state legislature. A weak case. The Prop. 8 team will counter these arguments on behalf of all of us who love marriage.

The opposition is grasping at straws. Still, we know that the CA Court already favors ‘gay marriage.’ Last year, the Court overturned the first law defining marriage as solely heterosexual that CA voters passed in 2000. The Court then legalized ‘gay marriage’, which provoked the creation and passage of Prop. 8. Pray that in spite of their views, the Court Justices will uphold Prop. 8, the measure that the Court allowed on the ballot last November. Pray that real justice will prevail in CA by the Court upholding the people’s will.

A big question: what happens to the thousands of gay couples that ‘married’ between last June and the passage of Prop. 8? Though I sympathize with those caught in the legal crossfire, the Court has only itself to blame. Foreseeing the dilemma, Prop. 8 organizers requested last June that the Court wait to marry gays until the people voted. The Court refused to wait. Pray that all state courts will learn from the mess that the CA Court has made of this, and that the Court will act wisely and justly this time in light of all concerned.

On behalf of generations yet-to-come, let us support marriage by praying for the Prop. 8 team as they defend our case on Thursday. The Court then will deliberate and make a decision at a yet-to-be determined time. Please make prayer for marriage a part of your Lenten offering, as we are at Desert Stream.

We do so for our grandchildren’s dignity and clarity (in contrast to their shame).

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 3

The second question we must raise: does freedom from racial restrictions in marriage apply reasonably to freedom from gender distinctions in marriage? In other words, does interracial marriage set a solid precedent for ‘gay marriage’?

Not at all. Throughout the history of civilization, marriage was and is fundamentally about one man pledged to one woman, for the purpose of bearing and raising children. Ethnicity has never figured into the equation at a foundational level. Discrimination of interracial couples is thus rooted in injustice, in fallen human tradition, and was deservedly overturned by a just Court.

President–elect Obama knows well the power of that justice. As the child of a white woman and African man, he would have been born illegitimately without the foresight of the CA Court. (CA overturned the ban on interracial marriage in 1948, but that ban did not become national law until 1967.) That means that the most powerful man in the USA has a strong sensitivity to marital justice and discrimination.

That is all the more reason for Obama and all citizens to be clear on what the issues are. Obama currently is not. Although he claims to be against ‘gay marriage’ per se, he equally opposed Prop.8 on the grounds that it was ‘discriminatory.’ And he is surrounded by those who have bought into the myth of gays as a targeted minority.

We live in a culture that is vulnerable to the rhetoric of activists who insist that ‘marriage equality’ applies to the false ‘ethnos’ of homosexuality. In their distorted but compelling line of reasoning, this view presumes that homosexuals deserve the same rights as any minority including marital rights, and invokes the struggle of blacks seeking to marry interracially as a legal pathway to ‘gay marriage’ justice.

Bad reasoning. ‘Gay marriage’, unlike interracial marriage, fundamentally violates what marriage is. Remove the component of gender distinction in marriage, and it ceases to be marriage. It ceases to produce new life. It violates what all people know to be true about the design of the universe. There exists a profound historic and creative logic to traditional marriage that ‘gay marriage’ undermines.

Marriage is male and female. Ethnically diversity does not disrupt marriage in the least; gender sameness disqualifies it. Marriage is defined by gender polarity. It should not be tinkered with. For the good of all, especially for the children created by it.

The relentless drive of beautiful, misdirected people has brought us to the brink of undermining the most basic and formative institution on earth.

We must continue to fight. Prop.8 was one victory in what will ultimately become a battle to the National Supreme Court. We must seek to pray and inform all within our realm of influence as to what the real issues are. ‘Fearing God, we persuade men…” (2Cor 5:11)
I urge you:
1. Pray for Obama, that he would make just and true distinctions between the issues at hand.
2. Pray for the Prop.8 team as they prepare for the CA Supreme Court hearings in March. They will be able to represent the case for Prop.8, as opposed to the District Attorney, Jerry Brown, who fought against Prop.8 with all his might. Pray that the Courts will uphold the will of the people by supporting marriage in CA.
3. Pray for us at Desert Stream that we will continue to do our part to equip the church to provide clear and merciful choices for those with same-sex attraction, while fighting the growing injustices in our land. These concern a wrong view of homosexuality and ‘marital equality.’
We have won a battle; we have not won the war. Pray for perseverance, truth, mercy.

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 2

First we must answer the question: can homosexuality be compared to ethnicity?

Not well, according to the Latinos and African-Americans in CA who rallied to pass Prop.8, in contrast to their Anglo counterparts. Race is a biological birthright; it is immutable, unchangeable, and from a biblical viewpoint, to be celebrated as God reconciles every tribe and tongue to Himself, his/her own ethnos, and to one another.

Homosexuality is altogether different; it cannot be compared to ethnicity in its origins, its various expressions, its malleability, and the moral decisions one makes in light of those tendencies.

Homosexuality is complex in its origins. While it is absolutely wrong to declare homosexuality inborn, one must acquiesce to a web of factors that influence same-sex attraction, including biologically determined personality traits, family-of-origin factors, and the cultural and social variables around him/her.

And this is where we find such diversity among ‘homosexuals.’ It is difficult today to separate those with longstanding tendencies from those experimenting with homosexuality, like teenagers, or the likes of a Lindsay Lohan or an Anne Heche.

The growing cultural acceptance of homosexuality means that more will choose to experiment in this way; it also highlights how huge a variable that moral choice is for the same-sex attracted.

Many like myself choose to undergo a process of change to a heterosexual identity, others opt to be celibate ‘homosexuals’, others adopt that lifestyle, while still others cycle into homosexuality for a while then opt out.

In its origins, and in its diverse expressions that hinge upon one’s moral decision-making, homosexuality differs from ethnicity.

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 1

As soon as the results were tallied in favor of Proposition 8—the ban on same-sex marriage in California—a backlash erupted that continues to this day. Those of us who supported 8 had little time to celebrate.

Throngs of gay activists protested in CA’s largest cities. They accused Prop.8 supporters of perpetrating hate (‘H-8’) crimes upon gays. A week later, the protest spread to cities throughout the nation.

Activists picketed churches and disrupted services. Some who financially backed Prop.8 (the records are public) were harassed, including the director of a major theater company in CA who lost his job. It seems those most intent on tolerance fail to extend it!

While Ron Prentice, head of the campaign for Prop.8, declared that the citizens of CA had by a majority vote ‘enshrined the importance of marriage in the state constitution’, the editors of the NY Times bemoaned how the passage of Prop.8 ‘enshrined bigotry in the constitution of CA.’

In that spirit, four hours after Prop.8 opponents ceded victory to the gay marriage ban, three high-profile legal groups filed petitions requesting that the State Supreme Court invalidate the measure.

On what grounds? Proponents of gay marriage are claiming once more that gays are a targeted minority, being subject to the prejudices of the majority. They claim that the civil rights of an oppressed people-group are at risk. Now that Prop.8 made ‘gay marriage’ unconstitutional, activists are claiming with new fury that their constitutional rights have been violated.

So in March of 2009, the State Supreme Court will hear yet again another round of appeals as to why their decision last May to legalize ‘gay marriage’ should trump Prop.8.

(Keep in mind that last May the Court cancelled out a ‘heterosexual marriage’ amendment that voters rallied for in 2000. Prop. 8 was a response to that cancellation; it went further than the initial amendment and made ‘gay marriage’ unconstitutional.)

We are witnessing a value clash of huge proportions. On one hand are those who uphold traditional marriage as a common good: the union of one man for one woman, validated by the state to help ensure fidelity and permanence for the sake of children. On the other hand are those whose commitment ‘to justice for all’ now include homosexuals as a minority who should be given whatever rights and privileges that the state grants any ethnic group.

Proponents of ‘gay marriage’ cite racial justice as the single strongest precedent for their views. When the Chief Justice of the CA Supreme Court was making his case for ‘gay marriage’, he quoted three times from a 1948 court decision (Perez vs. Sharp) where the CA Supreme Court struck down a state ban on interracial marriage.

“The essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice,” Chief Justice George said, quoting Perez while siding with arguments for same-sex marriage that were consciously rooted in the struggle for equal rights for blacks.

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