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How to Defend Marriage

     Last week's fascinating Supreme Court hearings about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) made me think about the ways in which marriage might actually be defended.  It takes more to defend marriage than simply passing a law which refuses federal benefits and protections to any but "traditional" marriages between a man and a woman. 

     It is startling, for example, to realize fraudulent or frivolous marriages of the stereotypical "Hollywood" variety (think:  Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen, media personalities and mutually destructive relationships of many descriptions) receive protections and supports refused to any number of stable marriages in our own church family (those which, one hopes, will soon become legal in Oregon) simply because the marriages in our church family are between people of the same sex.   

     Aside from the legal questions, what can a church do to "defend" all marriages?  We have Biblical traditions which value longstanding covenants.  We have New Testament teachings which, while dated in their view of women, nevertheless do promote ideas of mutual love and respect within marriage.   We have the lived experience of church life which honors families and marriages by blessing and celebrating permanent commitments, and offering support during seasons of challenge which enter every marriage and family.  We have a value system which honors many diverse configurations of "family'"and seeks to weave us all together within the Body of Christ.    

     The Defense of Marriage Act is not nearly ambitious enough when it comes to defending marriage and family.   I believe we reach far higher in our efforts to defend but also honor, nurture and celebrate marriage and family.   May God guide us in searching for new and better ways to sustain you and yours, your children and your families, your expressions of commitment, and your relationships of love, loyalty and trust.   



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