I love David French, a fellow lawyer and fellow Christian. Therefore, I readily appreciated his clear legal explanation of “covenant marriage” as contrasted with “civil marriage” in “An Open Letter to Those Who Think I’ve Lost My Christian Faith.” (https://thedispatch.com/newsletter/frenchpress/an-open-letter-to-those-who-think-ive-lost-my-christian-faith/)
However, I cannot see how this distinction helps David support the proposed U.S. Senate bill called the “Respect for Marriage Act.” (Senate substitute for HR 8404). The proposed bill mandates nationwide recognition for civil same sex marriages when authorized by state law in the state where they occurred.
Here is the stated moral foundation for the proposed bill: “Congress finds the following: (1) No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. (2) Diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. Therefore, Congress affirms that such people and their diverse beliefs are due proper respect.” Then the bill goes on the establish legal strictures.
I agree with David that a government may legally create different kinds of marriage including marriage between people of the same sex. I also honor David’s desire to help LGBTQ families live “stable joyful lives.” However, I fear the consequences of mandating respect for LGBTQ marriage as a national policy.
The Bible suggests that people of a nation that legitimatizes such relationships may earn the wrath of God instead of stable joyful lives. (See for example Romans 1 and 2, Ephesians 5:1-14, and Colossians 3:5-6). A person who doesn’t believe in the God of the Bible or who doesn’t consider the Bible authoritative may not worry about this consequence. I do.
As Senator William H. Seward said of the United States Constitution in 1850 when opposing an attempt to permit slavery in California, there is “a higher law” in play here than a law of the United States Congress.