As many expected, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, ruled that under the Constitution, “same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.” Brushing aside arguments about history and the purpose of marriage, Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, wrote “No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”
This ruling is no surprise. All along, court-watchers knew that it would all come down to what Justice Kennedy thought about the issue. The votes of the other eight justices were never really in doubt.
And it was obvious that Justice Kennedy, as the author of Planned Parenthood’s infamous “mystery passage,” would have trouble excluding same-sex marriage from “the right to define one’s own concept of existence.”
Justice Kennedy’s opinion, along with the four dissenting opinions, will be dissected and analyzed for some time. For now, though, I’d like to take a more macro view of what transpired on Friday. And I’d like to start by stating what should be obvious to the Christian: Five justices of the Supreme Court cannot redefine marriage itself, not any more than Roe v. Wade could redefine the sanctity of human life.
And just as Roe marked a new phase in the struggle for the sanctity of life and the dignity of new persons, Friday’s decision marks a new phase in the fight for the God-ordained gift of family.
Of course, that’s not what the majority of the Court would have us believe. That’s why Justice Kennedy framed his opinion as the next logical step in the history of our evolving ideas about freedom and equality.
The key word there is “evolving.” In Kennedy’s take, our forebears who had moral objections to same-sex relations, never mind same-sex marriage, were unenlightened and cruel.
This chronological snobbery was too much for Chief Justice Roberts who, in dissent, wrote, “The Court today not only overlooks our country’s entire history and tradition but actively repudiates it, referring to live only in the heady days of the here and now. To blind yourself to history is both prideful and unwise.”
It’s also arrogant in the extreme. As Allan Carlson recently wrote in Touchstone, “same-sex marriage is merely the current enthusiasm of a relatively small number of deracinated, secularized, mostly childless, and largely white elites” in ten percent of the world’s countries.
He continues, “Despite intense forms of bribery and extortion now practiced by the United States and the European Union, few other [nations] are likely to join ‘the West’ in this latest surrender to the sexual revolution.”
Unfortunately as of Friday, we now live among the ten percent. While Carlson is correct when he writes that in the long run, as viewed from a Christian perspective, Friday’s decision will “mean little,” in the short-to-medium run it poses challenges for believers.
Now more than ever, we need to emphasize instructing our kids in the fullness of the Christian faith. They have to learn what marriage really is, not what the Court and the culture would have us believe it is.
And we need to be prepared for the inevitable impact this decision will have on how we practice our faith.
And like the pro-life movement learned to do in the wake of Roe v. Wade, we’ll need to find ways to help those victimized by this chapter of the sexual revolution. Every other chapter has had its victims. This one will too.
Most of all though, we need to pray that God would equip us for and sustain us through these challenges. As Carlson put it, “The twenty-first Christian century should actually be an exciting time to be alive for believers called to witness to the Truth. Despair is useless. Hope is certain.” Amen.
We’ve invited leading Christian thinkers to reflect on the Supreme Court’s decision, and have collected their responses at BreakPoint.org. Please visit us there to read more.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: June 29, 2015