Until Monday night, that word described my thoughts on Amendment 1, a proposed amendment to the NC state constitution that would define marriage between one man and one woman as the only domestic partnership that would be recognized in the state.
I did my homework. I studied the reasons for and against the amendment. Most of all, I prayed for wisdom. Regardless of the outcome, there are potential consequences for the citizens of our state. I finally came to a decision late Monday night.
I voted against Amendment 1, and my faith had everything to do with it.
Some of you reading this, who have been my friends for years, are undoubtedly disappointed in that decision. A few of you may question the legitimacy of my faith. Some of you may be surprised. Why did I vote this way, and how did faith have anything to do with voting against something that supposedly protects marriage?
There are the insignificant reasons: it’s legislative overkill, bigger government, the secular government sticking its fingers in what is largely a religious issue, the church getting involved in politics. But these reasons pale to the main reasons I chose to vote against Amendment 1.
I know what the Bible says about marriage. I still believe what the Scripture says is true, that marriage is between one man and one woman. I am not for homosexual marriage. I realize that voting against this amendment may open up the door to that possibility and that it carries some eventual potential risks for churches and faith-based professionals (thus I understand the reasons that supporters voted for it).
But I also know that the Bible says much more about caring for the helpless, the abused, and those who cannot speak for themselves than it does about marriage.
The wording of Amendment 1 opens up a Pandora’s Box of issues that could potentially rob such people of rights. Here are just a few:
- Children of unwed parents could lose much-needed health insurance that is provided to their parent, who is now covered by their domestic partner’s benefits.
- Victims of domestic abuse could lose some protection as this amendment could lead to lesser charges being filed against the abuser.
- Custody proceedings could become more muddied and complicated, and the main ones who suffer will be the children involved.
I chose justice for the helpless, the abused, and those who could not speak for themselves over legislative “protection” for marriage. Scripture is full of such injunctions, and Jesus lived this to the full. That’s what I am called to do.
And regardless of how we voted, this issue doesn’t end at the ballot box.
If you chose to vote for the amendment, then spend time everyday protecting your marriage. Pornography, adultery, lack of communication, abuse, and apathy are way more dangerous to marriage than whether or not the government eventually sanctions homosexual unions. (This goes for those of you who voted against Amendment 1 as well).
If you chose to vote against the amendment, actively pursue justice for those who need it. Serve the poor. Mentor the fatherless. Love those who do not live like you. (This goes for those of you who voted for Amendment 1 as well).
Legislation can never change hearts. Only the gospel can do that. Christians, regardless of how we voted on Amendment 1, let that change begin in us. Because the kingdom comes, not through the ballot box, but through lives radically changed by grace.
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