A Win-Win on Same-Sex Marriage
Can Christians compromise faithfully?

by Bob Hyatt

An excerpt:

...the state needs to get out of the "marriage" business. It should recognize that as long as it uses that term and continues to privilege certain types of relationships over others this issue is going to divide us as a nation and is only going to become more and more contentious. We need to move towards the system used in many European countries, where the state issues nothing but civil unions to anyone who wants them, and those who desire it may seek a marriage from the church. When I pastored in the Netherlands, couples got a civil union certificate at the courthouse and then had a marriage ceremony at the church. This division largely negated the culture war aspect, and allowed those churches who objected to same sex marriage on biblical grounds not only to opt out, but to be able to continue to teach their biblical view of marriage unchallenged by the state....

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December 12, 2008

Displaying 1–10 of 36 comments


March 11, 2009  1:46pm

This will only work if they are content with not forcing us to support their civil unions in other ways. Such as forcing employers to provide healthcare to their partner etc.

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January 08, 2009  9:03pm

Good Lord, I've been waiting for someone in the mainstream evangelical community to SAY THIS. I can only hope that this is brought out in future debates over the issues as the best, most reasonable solution. (Now, CT editors - won't you consider giving something like this more attention in your magazine? It ought to be read by more than just your Out of Ur readers.)

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January 08, 2009  8:35am

This was such a nice discussion. It was actually a pleasure to read and I was surprised really because I was honestly unaware that so many of my fellow Christians had such nuanced opinions on this issue. I agree wholeheartedly with the article, and I expect that the GLBT community would agree with it as well. Its an equality issue, not a religious one. We are free to live as we like, and we should convince people to follow God by our actions, not by forcing them to act a certain way under the law. That doesn't change anything in anyone's heart! Great job on the C.S. Lewis quote, as well. I had forgotten that one. :)

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January 08, 2009  12:15am

This solution sounds like a really sensible one, but it is a short sighted. You might find that the state does not object to you stepping out of the 'cultural war' but thereis one thing that you have not thought about, human rights. In Europe if you claim that you are doing something for religious reasons like standing against women priests or same sex marriages, you face prosecution under human rights legislation irrespective of if you are church or not.

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Patrick Gann

January 07, 2009  11:46am

Yes, exactly! Instead of giving marriage to homosexuals, the state should just give out civil unions to all! Then it's no longer a political issue, and churches can take whatever side they see fit. It is the right solution, I've been saying it for a long time now...

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January 06, 2009  10:36am

I do, and always have, agreed with Tyler's quote from C.S. Lewis. It remains true to democracy and pluralism, both of which are important (in my opinion) facets of U.S. government. While the final authority for a Christian is the Bible, that does not mean that the entire populace must be held to that same authority, just as I would not want to live in a place where I was forced to live under Sharia law. The authority for the U.S. government is the Constitution, not the Bible nor Christian "values".

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ann bracer

January 05, 2009  10:25pm

problem with this concept is that in america, if a same sex couple goes to a church to get "married" and the pastor does not want to perform the cermony.....the couple will sue the pastor for emotional distress...

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December 30, 2008  9:11pm

Since Out of Ur wouldn't do what they promised and provide me a way to read the article in its entirety, I was able to get Bob Hyatt to do it; thanks, Bob! Couple of comments: to K.W., I think that you've introduced a red herring into the whole equation. Christians DO speak out on all sorts of marriage issues, but 'gay marriage' is making the headlines these days, not because Christians are picking this fight, but because it's being brought to us. 'Homophobia' is a silly little word that we use when we lack an argument, and while there may be some people out there who are truly fearful of homosexuals, this fight isn't one Christians are itching to have, but rather feel compelled to in the wake of the decline of our society morally. To John M, I believe that the 'moral' dimension of marriage for a Christian would be tied, in Bob's scenario, with the 'church wedding' part of the equation. There'd be no 'living in sin' if a couple chose, for whatever reason, to ignore state sanction of the union. I agree with Bob's basic take, by the way, but in the event 'gay marriage' becomes the law of the land, as a pastor, I will no longer sign marriage licenses for ANYONE, and as a married individual, I may seek to have my marriage 'de-recognized' by the state. I have little interest in agreeing to a definition of 'marriage' that is watered down in this way. It's not what I signed up for...

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December 26, 2008  4:32pm

I still have no clue how to read this article. I subscribed 2 weeks ago; WHAT NEXT? Thanks.

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December 22, 2008  2:20pm

Marriage and civil government was created by God. He ordained capital punishment as a measure of civil government, Gen. 9:6, and ordains it in society, Rom. 13:1-7. Religion could not properly be maintained without the civil government, and civil government could not be civil without religion. While they influence and protect each other, separation of church and state should prevail.

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