As of this week Illinois has lost one of the few thing it held over my beloved home state of Iowa. On Wednesday Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the legalization of same-sex marriage making Illinois the 16th state to do so. (Iowa was 3rd, although it was done by the courts who forgot their job was not to legislate but to determine if the laws are consistent with the constitution, but I digress.)
The state of Illinois has officially legalized gay marriage. My first thought was, “what a sad day.” But the more I thought about it I realized it was inevitable.
Now your probably thinking, “What on earth is he talking about?” Allow me to attempt to explain.
For many of us, marriage is an institution ordained by God. Genesis 2:24 (NASB) tells us “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” In short, marriage is a “religious” thing. A position held not just by Christians, but Jews, Muslims and many others. In addition to this, it is historically a position held by the people of this nation and many others throughout history. (Thus the old expression, “married in the eyes of God.”) That being said, it is a position that was forfeited long ago.
“How so?” you ask. Let me start by pointing out what this issue was not about. Contrary to what every media source, pundit and activist would have you believe, the battle was not about equal rights. You see, the state of Illinois already had legal civil unions guaranteeing that the union of a homosexual couple had the same legal rights as a legally married heterosexual couple. What they did not have was the word “marriage.” That’s right, this battle was not about a truth, but about a word. A word which as I stated earlier was a “religious” thing.
Okay, but how does this make the point that the religious meaning of marriage had been forfeited. Simply put, we stopped viewing marriage as a religious thing a long time ago. We removed God from the institution of marriage a long time ago when it became acceptable practice for two people to “marry” before a government official. (And in turn our pastors began to serve as government officials signing off on a government sanctioned union.) We removed God when the marriage ceremony itself became more important than the meaning. (After all, how many little girls have grown up dreaming of a big church wedding.) We removed God when two people with no belief in God, let alone a commitment, were joined together in a church. (Some churches rent out their facilities to anyone who will pay.) We removed God when marriage became something to be embraced only as long as the good feelings lasted. (It is then tossed away when things got difficult.)
Now you may be thinking, “It’s always been that way and it’s that way everywhere.” Like I said, we forfeited it a long time ago and we probably don’t remember anything different.
No ,”marriage” ceased to be seen as a religious thing by most people a long time ago and slowly over time it has become one of those things most people do simply because society says it is the norm. So marriage became simply a “legal” thing. From this point on everything begins to make sense. An institution ordained by God between a man and woman became a legal contract issued by the government. And ‘I fear this is not the end, but only one more step down a road that leads away from God.
Yes, I am sorry the decision was made because I do not agree with it, but the fact is I’m more sad that we gave up marriage so long ago without even knowing it. So how do we respond to the situation? We need to realize there is a greater issue that needs to be done. The hearts and souls of our nation need to be drawn to God. Only then can we begin to grasp the true meaning of marriage and what we have really given up.