Let me preface this by emphasizing that this isn’t an argument for or against gay marriage. This is an expression of cynicism towards the biblical argument against gay marriage. Most Christians in the United States believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible and tend to use that as the basis for their position. Putting aside the separation of church and state doctrine invoked by the Supreme Court since 1848, basing one’s position on scripture alone does not definitively lead to the conclusion that gay marriage should be illegal.
There is nothing in the Bible that even mentions same-sex marriage. While true that there is mention of “standard” opposite-sex marriage, there are also numerous verses in support of polygamy (Exodus 21:10, Deuteronomy 21:15). This immediately breaks down the theory that “Marriage has always been defined under God as the union between one man and one woman.” Some argue that the New Testament rebukes the so-called injustices of the Old Testament, but Jesus Himself stated that no Old Testament law should be abolished (Matthew 5:17-18). In either case, it’s established that the definition of marriage throughout the Bible is not consistent. With regards to homosexuality, the scripture does suggest that those who engage in gay sex are sinful. This alone is not a sufficient condition to condemn gay marriage, because many other types of sinners are routinely married with no objection. In fact, the Bible teaches that every man is a sinner (Romans 3:23). Some might argue that the difference lies in the severity of the sin. If we’re to believe that all homosexuals go to Hell, that still doesn’t justify precluding them from marriage: “The one who does not believe [in Jesus] has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God” (John 3:18). Where’s the outcry against Jewish marriage?
Now, there are those who would claim that the reason Jews can get married but not gays is because marriage is associated with sex, so to allow gay marriage would somehow be condoning gay sex (alas, Jewish sex in itself is not a sin). As any married person would testify, associating marriage with sex probably isn’t the most valid notion. Being married does not require that sex is taking place. However, if sex is taking place, the Bible implies that it should only occur between married couples (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). So, disallowing those who engage in gay sex to marry actually leads them to more sin: they’re not only participating in the sinful act, but they’re doing so without being married. If gays were married, they might or might not have sex, but any sex they did have together wouldn’t be out of wedlock. From a biblical perspective, that has to be the preferred option. In fact, Christian values place emphasis on stability within the family structure: Jesus frequently spoke out against divorce (Luke 16:18, Mark 10:9-12, 1 Corinthians 7:10-13). A true Christian would want to encourage homosexuals to have that same stability, especially since it’d have the effect of containing — as opposed to spreading — their immoral act.
Furthermore, the passage most commonly used to condemn homosexuality is a blanket statement that casts judgment on any form of sex not lending itself to procreation (Genesis 38:9-10). Using the story of Onan “wasting his seed” as grounds for opposing gay marriage is logically equivalent to being against anyone who’s ever masturbated or received oral sex getting married. The same passage was cited by the church for ages to argue against the use of birth control. Recently, the Vatican relaxed its position, admitting that using condoms was preferable to having unprotected sex with an STD. Why? They realized that no matter what they said, people were going to have sex. The righteous position was therefore to preach responsibility. Similarly, there will always be gay people. A ban on gay marriage isn’t going to make gay people stop being gay. So shouldn’t it follow that the church would encourage gay people to be gay responsibly (with one committed partner)?
Again, this is not about whether gays should be allowed to marry. Obviously, I don’t believe there should be an outcry against Jewish marriage, either. I’m just using the hyperbole to demonstrate how the Christian perspective that uses the Bible as its sole point of reference to oppose gay marriage is faulty at best — even if we are to assume the scripture is true. It’s predicated on cherry-picking the passages that offer vague support to the position, then making objectionable presumptions about the text. Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that it’s likely the position was taken first, and the Bible was scanned for ostensible evidence second.
As a side note, I find it ironic that Hip Hop has always self-identified as liberal, yet our lyrics most often champion homophobia, gun ownership, big business, and amassing a personal fortune at the expense of others. Maybe it’s time we looked in the mirror ourselves.