Origin of marriage

The marriage of one man to one woman is the oldest institution on earth, predating all religion and government, inaugurated in the Garden of Eden by the Creator himself. The incarnate son of the Creator, Jesus, said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain [two and no more] shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4–6).

The traditional view of marriage that has come down to us from antiquity is shared by peoples of every culture and language, and reflects quite well the Biblical definition of marriage as being only between a man and a woman. History, likewise, reveals that all governments and religions have assumed that marriage is an unalienable human mandate from God, thus pre-existing government, and that it is therefore beyond its jurisdiction.

Legislators and rulers have seldom attempted to tamper with the private nature of this covenant between a man and a woman. Where legislation has been passed in regard to marriage, it has, with rare exception, been to protect the sanctity and independence of this fundamental human right. In fact, previous to the last fifty years or so, the march of history had tended toward increasing respect for the distinctive autonomy and sanctity of holy matrimony. As the collective states became more enlightened, they increasingly legislated against polygamy, incest, abandonment of children, and the patriarchal abuse of the female in marriage.

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The United States has demonstrated in its tax codes a vested interest in protecting the autonomous freedom of marriage. But an “invested interest” separated from the Biblical and traditional concept of a lifetime covenant between one man and one woman provides no protection at all to marriage as God has ordained it. And so it is that, until recently, the states have not attempted to offer a definition of marriage different from the traditional assumptions and practices.

Role of the State

Let’s be very clear: the established record of history has consistently indicated that the state does not create the right of marriage. As a part of its function, it acknowledges and protects certain rights, duties, and privileges of both the husband and the wife, as have been well-defined by the common practice of otherwise diverse cultures and religions. Historically, governments have guarded the sanctity of marriage more consistently than they have other unalienable rights, such as liberty, property, and freedom of association.
Where the state has failed to protect the inherent nature of holy matrimony, by allowing polygamy or preventing mixed-race marriages, it was understood by all, and eventually was so demonstrated, to be the result of corruption and injustice in that state.

The state, being secondary to the institution of marriage, has no jurisdiction to redefine the nature of marriage, as in so-called same-sex “marriage.” Even in ancient Greece, where homosexual activity was common, same-sex relationships were understood to be the aberration—equal to adultery—while heterosexual marriage was understood to be the norm.

History has consistently demonstrated that there resides in our human nature an innate knowledge that marriage—for it to be true marriage—is altogether consistent with the Creator’s intent as revealed in the Bible.

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History of holy matrimony

Most of my readers will agree that holy matrimony is not the product of the state, but few understand that it is likewise not the product of the church.

For three hundred years after Christ, the church viewed marriage as primarily a private matter not requiring ecclesiastical or state sanction. It was understood that marriage predated both religion and the state, and did not look to either for its legitimacy.

The early church devised liturgies to celebrate the Eucharist, Baptism and Confirmation, but no such liturgy was created for marriage. It was not important or required for a couple to have their nuptials blessed by the church. Men and women of responsible age could marry by mutual agreement in the presence of family and friends as witnesses.

The first detailed account of a Christian wedding in the West dates from the 9th century, and it was identical to the old nuptial service of Ancient Rome—looking to neither the church nor the state to authenticate the union. Of course, the members of a congregation took a great interest in the union of a young couple from their ranks, which is why those marriages were celebrated with family, friends, and fellow believers. But the right to marry was assumed to be a common-law right from the Creator, predating the church.

However, throughout the Middle Ages, churches often recorded the names and dates of marriages, as well as the children of that union. After printing became common, the old family Bible became the authentic record of births, marriages, and deaths.

Until 1545, all marriages in medieval Europe, including Christian marriages, came under the jurisdiction of common law. Holy matrimony occurred when two adults declared themselves to be husband and wife and then consummated the marriage in a one flesh union. Self-declared marriages were recognized as valid, even in the absence of witnesses.

The concept of a third-party “marrying” a couple was foreign to them. For those living in that time, it was inconceivable that a man could have any authority to join a couple in holy matrimony. God was understood to be the one who “joined together” a man and a woman, and he had already established the point or kind of union and its primary purpose—sexual intercourse. It was understood to be within the power of a man and a woman to commence a life of union as they pleased. The couple would publicly promise themselves to each other—called a “verbum sap” (Latin for “no more need be said”)—and then assume the duties of husband and wife, and that was marriage. When family structure and economic conditions made it possible, there were wedding feasts and celebrations surrounding a marriage, but the blessing of an ecclesiastical or civil authority were unwarranted.

Marriage not the domain of the church

How did marriage come to be viewed as the domain of the church? In the sixteenth century, as many Roman Catholics were discovering justification by faith and leaving the fold to become Protestants, the Roman church launched a counter-reformation. In an attempt to delegitimize Protestant marriages, the Roman Church abolished “clandestine” marriage at the Council of Trent (1545–1563), ruling that in the future, a marriage would only be valid if it were performed by a Catholic priest in the presence of two witnesses. Of course, this transferral of marital authority into the hands of the clergy did not affect those outside the Roman church, where marriage by common consent continued to be the norm.

Since it had become traditional for the Roman Catholic Church to recognize and record marriages, in the Protestant community separation from the old hierarchy left a vacuum that was soon filled by the Protestant states. By the 1600s, many of the Protestant European countries initiated the state’s involvement in the institution of marriage.

England abolished clandestine or common-law marriages in the Marriage Act of 1753, requiring marriages to be performed by a priest of the Church of England. This law did not apply to Jews or Quakers. It was an “inner church/state” act. All countries in Europe have now abolished “marriage by habit and repute”, with Scotland being the last to do so in 2006.

In the United States, new common-law marriages initiated in a state are still recognized in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and the District of Columbia, and in Canada, several provinces recognize them.

Licensed by the State

At the age of eighteen, when I was “ordained” by the Southern Baptist Church to preach the gospel, they steered me into applying to the State of Tennessee for a license to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That also gave me the legal status to perform weddings on behalf of the state. I accepted the whole process as needful for what God had called me to do, not in the least understanding the implications behind it all. It is downright scary to me to think back now on what they and I did.

Think about it. It was God who created sexual beings and ordained their marriage, and it is HE who joins them together so that no man can put asunder that union. And it is HE who commissioned me to preach the gospel and commanded me to go forth, but I ignorantly subjected God’s calling to the state and asked their permission to obey God. In exchange for that “submission” on my part, the state delegated to me the authority to act as a proxy for them in granting what had been public domain for six thousand years of human history—holy matrimony.

The state can only license that which is under its jurisdiction. And anything it licenses can be forbidden or regulated. In short, to receive licenses is to acknowledge the state’s supremacy over that activity, and it is a surrender to state control.

I applied for and received from the state a driver’s license, by which I acknowledge the state’s jurisdiction over the road systems. By being a license holder, I place myself under the penalty of law for violating any state regulation covering the use of public roads. I have no problem with being so licensed. I acknowledge the state’s jurisdiction over the roads it has built and maintains. I also recognize that without my consent, the state can change the laws at any time, and I am responsible to submit to any revision.

To receive from the state a license to marry is to acknowledge the state’s authority over marriage. What it licenses, it can un-license. One person can go to that state and have their contract of marriage dissolved. Why? Because the two parties of the divorce signed away their rights to “until death do us part” when they received a state license. The state is not bound by the verbal covenant you made in church. The state, by our consent, has made itself higher than our sworn covenants, higher than the church—higher than the God who ordained marriage. It was not always so. It is now. All praise to the state supreme? I praise them not!

Redefined Marriage

Now that we have finally granted the state jurisdiction over marriage, it has taken upon itself the authority to change the rules that have been in place for the past six thousand years of human history. As of this writing, five states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Iowa—recognize same-sex “marriage” as legitimate marriage. Vermont will soon follow, starting September 1, 2009. California was recognizing same-sex “marriages,” but later revoked the right. The battle is not over. It is under judicial review. Marriage licenses that once had lines for the signature of Bride and Groom now read Subject A, Subject B. When your daughter gets married will she be A or B? According to those states, she cannot be a “bride.” That is now politically incorrect discriminatory language.

The first country to allow same-sex couples to enter into legally recognized “marriages” was the Netherlands, effective in 2001. Since then, six other countries—Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway and Sweden—have followed suit.

Same-sex couples can be “civilly united,” but not married, in 16 other countries and in specific jurisdictions within five others. Even Israel recognizes legal same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, but does not perform its own same-sex marriages. Political and legal debate continues in over two dozen other countries and in multiple U.S. states.

Californians will lose the battle against having their marital status degraded and viewed as on par with an abominable perversion. Now that we have surrendered marriage to the state, it can now be redefined to the lowest denominator. Six thousand years of tradition will not affect this “progressive” trend. Biblical principles were disregarded 150 years ago. The opinion of the majority will have no meaningful bearing. The courts will overrule millennia of acceptable tradition and the will of the people.

Sodomite Agenda

Sodomites are seeking to redefine marriage in the courts and statutes to include same-sex unions. If their concern were just to obtain the same legal benefits enjoyed by traditional marriages, they would be satisfied with “domestic partnership” or “civil unions”. But no, they want much more. They want to legislate the beliefs, attitudes, and values of people everywhere! It is not just legal standing they seek; it is complete social and moral approval of their chosen, self-felt immoral degradation.

Marriage, necessarily requiring a man and a woman, has by nature been an institution of exclusion from other “pairings” of people for sexual gratification. It has earned respect and honor as a sanctified and worthy institution, the place where future generations are incubated and nurtured. On the other hand, sodomy, by its nature, has historically been understood by all cultures to be an aberration, a perversion, unworthy of praise. Queers are tired of being queer. They want to escape the stigma their sin carries by joining the ranks of the holy—holy matrimony.

Proponents of same-sex “marriage” regard it as a human right to be able to enter into “marriage” regardless of sexual orientation. I agree that Sodomites have a human right to do the wrong thing, to do harm to themselves, to be ignorant or stupid, but there is no human right to constrain others to approve or legally validate that choice. Just because one is free to choose does not render all choices appropriate. But it is not really the right to choose they seek; it is the denial of our right to choose otherwise that is at the forefront of their campaign.

Maggie Gallagher of the National Review says same-sex “marriage” advocates seek to use the law to “stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation.” Sodomites want you punished for making them feel ashamed or guilty. They will not rest until it is illegal to quote the Bible regarding the sin of sodomy. You can be certain that, within the next few years, homosexuals will be a protected species and heterosexuals the endangered species. They will use the courts to purge society of the last vestige of negative speech or discriminatory actions. There is no stopping it, short of a nationwide repentance of true saints for their faithlessness in praying for those in authority over them, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1–4). And, God willing, that revival may be the spark that God will use to ignite another revival of the godless among us to repentance for their hell-worthy sins.

Dishonest argument

Defenders of traditional marriage have already lost the battle out of timidity. They argue that marriage is for procreation, something same-sex partners cannot do. What about sterile couples? Should they be denied the right to marry? Defenders of traditional marriage argue that “heterosexual couples provide the procreative foundation that is the chief building block of civilization, and that children are best raised with a mother and a father.” No doubt true, but what of all the single parents? Others argue that same-sex marriage is contrary to traditional marriage. So what? does that make it wrong? Others put forth religious objections, to which the other side quickly reminds us that religion is often on the wrong side. Defenders of heterosexual marriage argue that “the definition proposed by same-sex marriage advocates changes the social importance of marriage from its natural function of reproduction into a mere legality or freedom to have sex.” That might have been a good argument for the Puritans three hundred years ago, but it is embarrassing now.

What I am attempting to convey to you is this: It is ultimately futile to reject same-sex “marriage” on such flimsy grounds as those listed above. Most of you by now should know that such arguments are our last stand after having abandoned our real belief—Sodomy is hurtful sin. Anything else would be like the arguments used against premarital sex that point to “how unfulfilling it is to get involved too early.” Good luck with that argument.

You can voice all kinds of arguments about the social implications and what is best for the rearing of children, but that is nothing more than a smoke screen for a faith-grounded worldview. We do not want our holy marriages identified with same-gender unions because we know homosexuality to be an ugly sin, totally contrary to the will of God as revealed in the Bible. Period.

Are we ashamed to voice our real position? Probably not. For some it is easier or a matter of expediency not to “say those words.” Others are not ashamed, but have not sat down and clearly thought it through and measured their thoughts by Scripture. We know that government no longer recognizes the authority of God, and for that reason has lost its original reason for protecting the sanctity of marriage. When God was displaced with human rights, it left a vacuum of authority. The State stepped right in and filled the void on behalf of the people. Why not compromise some so-called moral issues and try to accommodate all of its citizenry? If homosexuals want to be included in the bonds of matrimony, who are we (the State) to say it is inappropriate? A break with tradition, yes. Contrary to the comfort zones of many, so what? They will get over it. If there is no longer a moral Lawgiver, all that is left are the feelings and passions of the people. And why should the majority deny pleasure to the minority?

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). Offering feeble arguments about the functionally and social superiority of our position is a pitiful, losing argument. Rather, let us speak the truth, proclaiming that Jesus is the Creator, the Bible is his perfect word, we will all stand in the judgment to answer for our deeds, and homosexual acts are sinful, ending in eternal damnation for all those who practice them. And our closing statement can be, We will not accept a license from the government that views our holy marriages on a parity with a couple of Sodomites trading HIV viruses and adopting kids they could never produce.

Through the power of Godless judges in the courts, sexual deviants are pushing the State to grant them the same license that once only legitimized holy matrimony. There is no stopping the flow. One state after another is falling to their persuasion. If not already, in your state you will soon find yourself standing beside a grinning queer who holds a marriage license identical to yours. If you speak against it, you will soon find yourself in court. The only recourse when snakes get in your boat is to get out—fast. When it becomes a snake boat, I will swim or find another boat.

When your state declares your marriage license to be fully equal in all respects to a Sodomite’s, it will be time to repudiate the state licenses and climb to higher ground over which the state has no jurisdiction. They can recognize the civil rights of a perverted union if they please, but we will maintain ground that is faith-based and divinely protected.

Confusion

The problem that has arisen today to monumental proportions is simply that the State should never have been granted jurisdiction over holy matrimony. “We, the people” are responsible for letting this happen. Marriage has never been a political construct until this last generation. To demand that the State protect the sanctity of holy matrimony is to burden the State with enforcing a position that assumes the authority of the Holy Bible, which they have abandoned. It will never happen in the United States of America, nor anywhere else in the world.

Proposal

I will offer you a practical solution. When your state grants marital status to same-sex partners, send the state notification of your revocation of your state marriage license. And then as a couple, draw up a document that you file in your local courthouse that declares your marriage to have occurred on the date you were married long ago, including city, county, and state, with a brief statement about the Biblical nature of your covenant before God, and then signed by the two of you and witnessed by two friends. It is a retro-marriage covenant—not a license.

When I first shared this with my wife, she freaked out and said she did not want to get a divorce, just to be married again 38 years later. No, your rejection of the state license will not be a divorce. You are just acknowledging that the state never had jurisdiction over your marriage and that your marriage has existed, and does exist, apart from the state. We expect the state to continue to recognize our marriage, granting us all the protection and rights that marriages have traditionally enjoyed. It will just give us the satisfaction of stepping out of the circle into which the queers have stepped. The document of marriage you draw up and witness will have the force of law when it is witnessed and filed at your local courthouse.

Better late than never

Several years ago, a couple with several children came to me with a concern. When they were young, they had run away to get married and then came back home declaring themselves to be husband and wife. But they never had a ceremony before a preacher or a justice of the peace. It was a common law marriage. It was now a concern to them because of the legal consequences of not being married in the eyes of the State. What if one of them died? What about property rights, etc.? So I drew up a document much like the one I am advocating that stated the early date of their marital union and declared them to be married from that date to the present, “until death do they part.” They signed it and my wife and I witnessed it, and they took it down to the local courthouse where it was notarized and filed. It took five minutes and cost $.50 plus the cost of gas. It is a valid marriage contract.

Private covenant marriage

All of my children but one were married by private contract. They did not ask the state for permission to marry. I wrote a one-page covenant for them, something like a private contract, that stated their commitment to enter into holy matrimony according to Biblical precepts, a few of which were enumerated. The contractual part of the wedding consisted of their verbal pledges of marriage and their signing the pledge in front of all present. Parents also signed the pledge, committing to the union, and then siblings and friends signed it as well. In unison, all present pronounced them man and wife by the power vested in us from God. They later took a copy of the document to the courthouse and had it notarized and filed. They have never failed to gain equal status before the law as being legally married.

Need your help

I am not an attorney. Many of my readers are. Lend us a hand. Research the statutes for us, and draw up a one-page marriage covenant that we can make available to our readers free. Also, please draw up a document that we can file with the courthouse that rescinds [rescinds, nullifies, sets aside, revokes] a state marriage license already in force. Email that to me with or without your credentials. If you wish, I will include your credentials on the instrument you create for us, including any contact information you may wish. But, of course, you may remain anonymous. If you do want credit, please send us a letter of consent to publish it free of charge in our publications.

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(Our Biblical grounds against same-sex marriage: Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:22–32, 1 Corinthians 6:9–20, Jude 1:7, Isaiah 3:9)

They won’t mate!

I hired a young boy to help do some chores around the place. Our first job was to gather up the old hoses and irrigate the garden. But the hoses had many cuts and leaks, and some had broken couplings, so I purchased a sackful of brass couplings and hastily repaired the hoses. When I finished fixing them, I told the boy to hook them up and run them down to the sprinkler in the garden. After thirty minutes, he was still running back and forth, dragging hoses this way and that. I asked him, “What’s the problem?” In complete frustration he replied, “There is something queer about these hoses; I can’t make them fit together, no matter which way I turn them.” I examined the hoses and discovered that on one hose, I had put a female coupling on each end. Laughing heartily, I said, “You got that right; there is no way to mate two females. The couplings simply can’t couple.”