Monday, September 15, 2014

DOMA repeal: just the beginning?

CELEBRATION — Crowds rally in support of marriage equality in front of the Supreme Court. Photo credit: Victoria Pickering

Nearly two months ago, the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional. The overturn was seen as a great victory for the gay community and a particularly devastating loss to conservative-minded individuals.

The ruling grants gay couples living in states that permit gay marriage access to the same rights as heterosexual couples. As stated by the syllabus for United States v. Windsor, there are more than 1,000 of these rights, which include estate tax exemption and other financial benefits.

The repeal of DOMA does not legalize same-sex marriage throughout the country. That decision is still left to the individual states.

“The DOMA decision is a blow for federalism and the democratic process,” Dr. Corey Martin, assistant professor of government for the Liberty University Helms School of Government, said. “Congress passed this law with large bipartisan majorities in both houses, and the court simply decided that Congress has to accept the definition of marriage as dictated by the states. (T)he decision is also symptomatic of a court that is acting outside of its constitutional bounds.”

The U.S. is gradually turning away from its arguably Christian heritage and choosing “progressive” policies. Is this shift good for our nation? Any adjustment that diverges from the Christian worldview will negatively influence every aspect of society, from politics and economics to interpersonal relationships.

While the verdict is disappointing, it is similarly unsurprising. The current Supreme Court tends to favor liberal ideals, and the president vocally supports gay rights.

I anticipate that more cases will be taken to the Supreme Court to repeal DOMA in its entirety within a few years. The fall of Section 3 was simply the beginning of a larger process to fully integrate homosexuality into the culture.

“(W)ork is underway to fully overturn DOMA and end federal marriage discrimination once and for all,” freedomtomarry.org states, but the site does not specify how.

These changes in policy are a subtle indication of a mindset change in society.

The U.S. is only in the initial stages of this transformation, so the effects are not severely rampant or overt. But as the general atmosphere morphs from one of altruism to hedonism, repercussions will become more evident.

Dr. Kirk Belmont, senior pastor at Hope Community Church in Mount Joy, Pa., commented on the current situation.

“I think the nation will continue to decline into…relativism,” Belmont said. “This decision is one more step in that direction.”

The Bible makes it clear that God intends marriage to be between a male and a female. God sets the standard that humans are meant to follow.
Many American laws are built on concepts taught by the Bible, including DOMA. Now, with society’s changing mindset, these laws are viewed as outdated or narrow-minded. Biblical influence diminishes, which allows new policies to be implemented.

Christians should not feel helpless in the face of adverse circumstances. We can stand against unbiblical laws and represent truth in a respectful and compassionate manner.

“We should continue to behave in the way Jesus would behave,” Belmont said. “Part of the reason the nation has gone this way is the church has not (behaved like Jesus). We need to be full of grace yet full of truth in presenting our viewpoint.”

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