Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Why I'm Not Despairing Over the Marriage Rulings

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2013 Jun 26

The family and I have, ironically, just landed in Washington, D.C., for a tour of historic Williamsburg. From the small television in the back of the seat on the airplane, I watched the proceedings from the steps of the Supreme Court as reporters analyzed the news coming from inside the historic building.

Today’s Supreme Court rulings overturning part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and failing to rule on California’s Proposition 8 case are deeply disappointing.

Together, the Court neglected to uphold the will of the people through their elected representatives in Congress and the public votes of more than seven million California citizens.


Yet, however disappointing the rulings may be to those of us who embrace natural marriage, the decisions should not elicit a spirit of despair.

To be clear, the Court rulings responded to two complex cases asking narrow legal questions. Legal experts will spend days dissecting the pages of opinion and case law. And yet, for most Americans, the big picture is more of what the Court did not do:

  • It did not create a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage as it did for abortion in 1973.
  • It also did not declare same-sex marriage a civil right on the order of ethnicity or nationality. 

Today’s two rulings do not touch the 38 states across our nation that enshrine natural marriage as law. And the two rulings don’t diminish the job of the Church to proclaim God’s truth to a culture that desperately needs it.

The critical role of man-woman marriage is not diminished by these rulings today. The essential need for children to have both a married mother and father is not lessened by the opinions.

Proponents of same-sex marriage are hailing today’s rulings as a turning point for the institution of marriage and, indeed, the debate will continue.

That’s why, especially in the days to come, the Church will have a new opportunity to shine its light into a confused culture.

It is time for everyone who supports the natural definition of marriage to recommit and affirm the sanctity of their own marriages. We must humbly confess the damage we have done to marriage by our own collective careless treatment of it. As we continue to distance ourselves from God's design for marriage and family, Christians will need to take their oath and commitment to marriage more seriously. Though the divorce rate among committed Christians is lower than among the general populace, it remains far too high.

The single greatest argument we can present to the world on this issue of marriage is to personally live out marriage in all its God-ordained fullness and radiant beauty.

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