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FIRST-PERSON: It won’t work

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–So homosexuals want to get married, what’s the big deal? They say they love each other. Why deny them the privilege of forking over $60 (the cost of a marriage license in Multnomah County, Ore.) for the right to solemnize their commitment?

Solemnize? Yes, you read it right, solemnize. According to the Oregon Revised Statutes (number 106.041), Everyone wishing to enter into a marriage must obtain a license from the county clerk which will then be provided to “any person or religious organization or congregation authorized by [state statute] to solemnize marriages, and authorizing such person, organization or congregation to join together as husband and wife the persons named in the license.”

Solemnize, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, means to celebrate or observe with grace, dignity and gravity or to perform with formal ceremony.

In our postmodern world, where all definitions are subject to interpretation, it is probably acceptable for a woman to refer to herself as a husband and a man as a wife. So, I won’t bother commenting on the latter portion of the statute. However, I would like mull the idea of solemnizing.

It is my observation that many –- if not most -– of the same-sex couples who are participating in the matrimonial frenzy taking place in Portland (as well as in San Francisco) have long since “solemnized” their relationships.

I think you would be hard pressed to find very many same-sex couples waiting outside the Multnomah County Courthouse that have not previously declared their love for one another in some sort of ceremony. I am sure many have even had their relationships “solemnized” by a minister of some sort. Certain churches have been blessing same-sex relationships for years, some for decades.

So, why would a couple that has already “solemnized” their relationship go to all the trouble of waiting in a line and paying money only to repeat vows similar to ones shared in a previous ceremony? Validation is the reason.

Government sanctioned same-sex “marriage” is not about love or commitment. It is about societal acceptance. Homosexual activists believe that by obtaining marriage licenses their relationships suddenly will be viewed as equal with heterosexual matrimony. There is one serious flaw in this reasoning: It won’t work.

Current polls indicate the vast majority of Americans are opposed to the idea of homosexual “marriage.” Many citizens are willing to live-and-let-live and allow for arrangements that grant gay couples basic rights. However, they are opposed to any attempt to redefine the traditional concept (one man and one woman) of marriage.

Even if the court system forces government sanctioned same-sex “marriage” upon the American people, the action will not alter attitudes. In 1973 the Supreme Court imposed abortion on demand as law throughout the United States. Three decades later, opposition to abortion remains strong and even appears to be growing.

When government sanction of same-sex “marriage” does not result in society’s embrace of gay relationships, activists then will label any and all who disagree with homosexuality as dangerous bigots who are a threat to American democracy. Oh, I forgot, they do that already.

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University, commented on the probable consequences of the government sanction of same-sex “marriage.” She wrote:

“Religious freedom, too, is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with law suits if they refuse to compromise their principles.”

Why deny government sanction of same-sex “marriage”? Because the issue is not about love or commitment; it is about the validation of a lifestyle that most believe is wrong. Nothing will change that. Not the courts, not intimidation, not even coercion can force the American public, especially those with deep-seated religious convictions, to validate homosexuality.
Kelly Boggs’ column appears each Friday in Baptist Press. He is pastor of the Portland-area Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville.

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  • Kelly Boggs