This is an incredibly sensitive topic, so I want to make clear that these are my personal convictions that I have come to through my own prayer, reflection, and study. This is certainly not the last word on a tough issue. I acknowledge that other Christ-following believers can have views different than mine. -Greg
SHORT ANSWER: Yes, I believe it is a sin to support gay marriage because marriage is a divinely-established partnership between a man and a women, monogamous for life. Anything outside that model stands against God's will for his people.
LONG ANSWER: In order to answer this question, you first have to answer two other questions:
- What does the Bible say about marriage?
- What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
How you answer these questions will determine what you believe about gay marriage.
#1: What does the Bible say about marriage?
Under the first topic, there are also two questions to consider:
- What is the nature of marriage, i.e. is it a social contract or a divinely-established covenant (agreement)?
- What conditions constitute a marriage, i.e. what does the relationship look like?
Luckily, answers to both of these questions can be found in the very beginning of the Bible, the book of Genesis. The first mention of marriage-related words comes at the end of Chapter 2, which describes the culmination of God's perfect creation.
"20 But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame."
God created Eve as the perfect partner for Adam and describes how the two people shall be united to one another. Much more than simply telling creation history, this passage sets forth a paradigm, or model for marriage – one man and one women, monogamous for life – that has been held by Christians and Jews for centuries.
So, it is clear from Genesis that the uniting of a husband and a wife are part of God's original design. Modern society has minimized marriage into a mere social contract to do with as we want, but I believe the Bible has a much higher view of marriage. In other words, God sets the rules and standards for what it is and isn't considered marriage.
#2: What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
This is a sensitive issue, with a range of opinions, even among Christians. But after I've read and studied the issues, I have come to conclude that homosexual behavior is outside God's will for his people. When I read the Bible, I see three reasons why I believe this is true:
1) God has a specific plan for human sexuality
The Bible talks about sex in the exclusive context of marriage as being used for having children, for uniting a married couple together, and for just plain enjoyment and celebration between a husband and a wife. Anything outside that is sin. Homosexuality isn't the only way to act outsides of God's design for sex. It includes having sex outside of marriage, looking at pornography, using sex for control or violence, and much more.
2) God's Word says it's a sin
Any one verse struggles to make a compelling argument against homosexuality, but when you take all of them together, they paint a pretty consistent theme – homosexual activity is a sin. Here are just some of the Bible references that mention homosexuality. I've also created a separate post with all the verses written out.
- DIRECT Teaching that Homosexual Behavior is a Sin
- INDIRECT Teaching, Implying That Homosexual Behavior is a Sin
3) Church tradition has consistently taught against it
One of the arguments often used by those who believe that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality is that modern Christians are misinterpreting certain passages, such as those from Paul's letters. However, this argument doesn't hold much water because the Church has consistently and unanimously taught against homosexual behavior. For the last 1,900 years, Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox church leaders have all universally taught that the Bible speaks out against homosexual behavior. Period. There has been virtually no change in that until about 50 years ago when some Christians began to question it.
A lot of times I wish the Bible were different. I wish it allowed for a gay couple to marry in the same blessed way as a heterosexual couple. Or that a gay couple could enjoy sex in the same blessed way as a married, heterosexual couple. But as I read the Bible and understand God's will and design for humanity, it just doesn't allow for that option.
So, I don't believe that Bible-believing Christian can pray "your kingdom come, your will be done" (from the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6) and support gay marriage.
A SPECIAL NOTE: While traditional/orthodox Christianity teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin, it DOES NOT give Christians ANY right to abuse, discriminate, or ridicule those who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (or those who align themselves with their cause). We as Christians should be agents of God's love and compassion to the gay community. The conservative Christian church has ABSOLUTELY FAILED at this task. It's time for a new Christian voice to arise with humility, understanding, and grace.
ANOTHER SPECIAL NOTE: This discussion is focused strictly on gay marriage, but it does not preclude the possibility of civil unions between gays, offering them certain legal rights, benefits, and protections. Is it possible that gay civil unions would not stand in contrast to the teachings of Scripture? Maybe or maybe not. I'll leave that one for you to decide for yourself.