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Are you opposed to gay marriage? Grow up and learn a little "openness." In so many words, a clergyman lectured readers of a Missouri newspaper after the sitcom Friends ran a segment featuring a lesbian wedding. "The issue," he wrote, is "learning to live in a multicultural, multi-mores, multireligious, multi-everything world."

Well. When even some religious leaders push for same-sex marriage, we shouldn't wonder that it is a burning cultural issue today.

As we write, the courts are on a fast track to legalization. Within two years a Hawaii court is expected to declare same-sex marriage valid. And the Supreme Court is paving the way: In Romer v. Evans, it invalidated Colorado's referendum denying special legal protections to homosexuals, on the grounds that such laws create an "inevitable inference of animus." The logic of Romer could easily be used to define as bigotry any law against gay marriage (not to mention polygamy and other deviations from the traditional norm).

While the courts speed forward, legislatures are scrambling to put on the brakes. Many people are concerned that homosexuals will rush to Hawaii to marry, then demand that their home states recognize their marriages (citing the Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause). While Congress rushed to pass the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent that, several states are considering bills to limit marriage to male-female couples.

Yet on constitutional questions, the courts have the power to strike down laws—so the only real hope for deterring them is through public opinion. Even today's liberal judges may be checked by an overwhelming democratic consensus. As Christians, we must help build a fire wall in people's hearts and minds.

To do that, we need to learn ...

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Charles Colson
Charles Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers. Colson, who converted to Christianity before he was indicted on Watergate-related charges, became one of evangelicalism's most influential voices. His books included Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? A Christianity Today columnist since 1985, Colson died in 2012.
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In the Magazine

October 28, 1996

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