So New Zealand has recently become the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex mirage. For those of you who think that I cannot spell the word marriage, I really can. In fact I just did it. No, the “mirage” thing is deliberate. For that is what New Zealand legislators have just introduced. It isn’t marriage. Call it what you like but it isn’t marriage. Go ahead, pretend that up is down and down is up if you like. Believe it to be true if you really want. It won’t make the slightest bit of difference to the direction of gravity. Go ahead and pretend that a union consisting of two wives or of two husbands is marriage if you want. Believe it to be true with all your heart if that’s what takes your fancy. It won’t make the teensy-weensiest bit of difference to what marriage actually is. And that’s because marriage is defined by God, and not by a group of postmodern poseurs sitting in a parliament in New Zealand.
What New Zealand has introduced is same-sex mirage: from a distance it looks a little bit like marriage – two people, a ceremony, a ring and all that – but on closer inspection it turns out to be merely an illusion.
Now if I were a young person (not that I’m terribly ancient, but if I were younger than I am) I think I would start to smell something fishy going on here. “Why is it,” I’d be asking myself, “that after being told that marriage is outdated, pointless, stifling drudgery by the media and the state all our lives – why is it that suddenly they’re all telling us that marriage is a really really great idea. Why is it that having engineered a situation where the numbers of people getting married have steadily fallen, the numbers of divorces have reached epidemic proportions, cohabitation is the norm, and where we have been taught to scorn marriage as “just a piece of paper”, why is it that they’re suddenly telling us: “Hey kids! Marriage is really really cool?” Something doesn’t quite add up.
Well just in case you are a young person who has been told all your life that marriage is outdated, pointless, stifling drudgery by the media and the state and you can’t quite understand how they’ve suddenly all become very keen supporters of marriage, here is the answer:
The state and the media have not suddenly become all enthusiastic about marriage. It’s all a ruse and if you believe it, then you’ve been duped. If they had suddenly become pro-marriage, their campaign wouldn’t look much like it currently does. Rather than campaigning for the diluted, legally insignificant institution they have allowed marriage to become to be extended to a group of people for whom marriage was never intended, they would instead be campaigning for the repeal of all the easy divorce laws and for proper sanctions for those who commit adultery. But they’re not doing that, are they? Maybe there’s another reason then. Is it at all possible that they do still believe that marriage is outdated, pointless, stifling drudgery, and that they are just using the homosexual cause to bring about its demise?
“But how can that be so?” asks the naïve youngster. “These people seem so genuine in their desire to see marriage extended to homosexuals. If two people love each other and want to commit to one another then surely allowing them to marry is evidence that those in favor are trying to preserve the institution, not destroy it.”
Well my naïve young friend, what exactly is marriage? Leaving aside the genders of those involved for a moment (yes I realize that this is a pretty big thing to leave aside, but for the sake of argument…) what is marriage? The younger generation has, by and large, been told that it is just a piece of paper. And in the modern day yes there is usually a piece of paper involved. But what does that piece of paper represent?
What it does not represent is just “two people who love each other very much” getting together. Being in love is wonderful, but there may be times in a marriage when the two people might not particularly “love each other very much”, and what then? Can the union be dissolved? No, it is precisely at that point that the vows must be held onto for all they’re worth, with the two parties learning to resolve their differences by repentance and self-sacrificial love.
It is not even merely about commitment. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, once told his Party, “There’s something special about marriage. It’s not about religion. It’s not about morality. It’s about commitment … And by the way, it means something whether you’re a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man.” 1 But it is more than just “commitment” David. It is a promise made before witnesses and is therefore a binding commitment, both in the eyes of God and men. Mere commitment can be revoked in the future if one or other of the parties decides they no longer want to commit. A binding, covenantal promise on the other hand, can never be revoked without serious repercussions.
What the “piece of paper” does represent is a lifelong covenantal commitment by two people (we haven’t quite got to the stage of adding another party to the arrangement) to devote their lives to one another, to be faithful to one another come what may. It is a promise to sacrifice oneself on behalf of the other person and give oneself wholly to the care of that person. All of which means that all bone fide “marriage campaigners” must do the following:
1. Call for the repeal of the divorce laws which have made the dissolution of the covenantal union almost as easy as returning an unwanted item to a store.
2. Speak out against promiscuity and cohabitation
3. Condemn adultery in the same way the 7th commandment does
When I see those calling for the extension of marriage to homosexuals begin this campaign, maybe I’ll start to have second thoughts about what it is that is driving them. When I begin to see them apologize for duping an entire generation with their previous hostility towards marriage, then I’ll reconsider. Until that day, I will continue to treat their sudden conversion to the institution of marriage with deep suspicion.