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Why I support the Marriage Protection Amendment

by Bill Bouknight
Senior Pastor, Christ UMC, Memphis, Tenn.

NOTE: Earlier this year, the United Methodist General Conference passed legislation supporting "laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." The measure passed without debate and by an overwhelming margin.

Now, such a law, known as the Marriage Protection Amendment, is being debated by the U.S. Congress.


The most vital domestic issue facing Americans is the preservation of the institution of marriage.


Marriage, defined in God's Word as a lifelong covenant of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24), may soon be redefined as a partnership of two or more persons who want to legalize their sexual and/or emotional relationship.

The implications of such a change in the foundational institution of our civilization are ominous.

A biblical standard

One of the common questions Christians ask about homosexuality is this:

If someone has had a same-sex orientation from his or her earliest memory, doesn't it mean God made that person that way and therefore approves of homosexual relationships?

The answer is, "No." The Bible teaches that we live in a fallen world and all of us are born with some "brokenness." The church has always referred to this as "original sin."

Some people are born with a tendency toward alcoholism, but God doesn't intend for them to be alcoholics. Some are born with a tendency toward sexual dysfunction of one kind or another, but God does not want them to violate biblical standards by giving free rein to that dysfunction.

When we repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, God gives us a new heart, filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He begins to heal our brokenness and make "new creatures" out of us.

Though we recognize that sexual dysfunction, especially the practice of homosexuality, may be very difficult to change and heal, we must not give up on the grace and power of God. (And, of course, we must support ministries that apply God's healing grace to persons with sexual dysfunction.)

What's the big deal?

Another question often asked by Christians is this:

Why make such a big fuss is same-sex couples want to marry? What's the harm in it?

Here are six likely results if same-sex marriage is legalized:

1. If we redefine marriage, we will do grievous harm to the real thing.

In the Netherlands, Belgium, and Scandinavian countries, same-sex marriages have been legalized during recent years. In these countries, the institution of marriage is rapidly dying, with most young couples cohabiting or choosing to remain single.

In some areas of Norway, 80 percent of firstborn children are conceived out of wedlock!

When marriage is redefined, children and youth receive a confusing message about lifelong commitments, sexual purity, and the sanctity of marriage. Children conclude that marriage has been devalued and is therefore less important.

2. If we legalize same-sex marriage, we cannot prevent polygamy and all other alternatives to one-man/one-woman unions.

Without a defining standard, the "bisexual" person can demand two spouses; the polygamist can claim his right to three wives. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already pointed in this direction by stating that the nuclear family "may not be necessarily the best model."

In 1972 the National Coalition of Gay Organizations demanded "the repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into the marriage unit.... Group marriage could comprise any combination of genders."

3. Same-sex marriage will confuse and harm children.

Because homosexuals are rarely monogamous, children are caught in a perpetual coming and going. More than 10,000 studies have concluded that kids do best when raised by loving and committed mothers and fathers.

Two men cannot be a mother to a child. Two women cannot be a father to a child.

What will happen when married homosexuals become divorced? Instead of two moms and two dads, children would have four moms or four dads.

4. Public schools in every state will have to embrace homosexuality.

The public school system will be required to teach that homosexual marriage is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage. This is currently happening in California.

5. Adoption laws and foster-care program will be impacted drastically.

Courts will no longer be able to favor traditional married couples in adoption placements. The ideal of every child having a mother and a father will instantly become obsolete.

Foster-care parents will be required to undergo "sensitivity training" to rid themselves of bias in favor of heterosexuality. Moral training related to sexuality will be forbidden. Again, this is the current law in California.

6. Religious freedom will be jeopardized.

Canada gives us a preview of what could happen in the United States. Earlier this year, the Canadian Parliament effectively criminalized speech or writings that criticize homosexuality. Anything deemed to be "homophobic" is punishable by six months in prison or other severe penalties.

Pastors and priests in Canada are worried that if they preach the biblical truth about homosexuality, they could be charged with "hate speech."

We must take action

This battle for traditional, biblical marriage can be won. All polls show that a substantial majority of Americans oppose any redefinition of marriage.

The only sure way to stop a judicial hijacking of marriage is to enact the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA), defining marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.

Right now, the course of action is to contact your Congressional representative and your senators, urging their support for the MPA. (Once passed by Congress, the amendment would then have to be approved by three-fourths of the states.)

Remember the warning attributed to the English statement, Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

In the words of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, "Now is not the time to go wobbly."

Some of the statistics and other information for this article were drawn from Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle, a recent book by Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family.

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