The Traditional Equation: Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman + 1 Woman
Stand for Marriage Maine is organizing an attempt to repeal Maine’s marriage equality law so that gay and lesbian couples will be forbidden from getting married. The organization calls explicitly for a return to “the traditional definition of marriage.” But what is the “traditional definition of marriage”? Let’s look to the organizations backing the repeal of Maine marriage equality for an answer.
It’s important to keep in mind that SMM is itself a coalition of organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church, the National Organization for Marriage, and Concerned Women for America. Some of those organizations, like the National Organization for Marriage, are themselves coalitions backed by likes of the Roman Catholic Church and Concerned Women for America (this effort is a veritable swiss cheese of overlapping organizations funding one another). The National Organization for Marriage specifically grounds its idea of “traditional marriage” in the Christian Bible:
Most Christians know from the Bible that marriage is part of God’s original order. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a help mate” [Genesis 2:18]. Jesus also
affirmed that lasting, loving marriage is basic to God’s plan for us.
The Vatican also grounds its opinion on “traditional marriage” in the Christian Bible:
There are three fundamental elements of the Creator’s plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.
In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.
Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.
And the Concerned Women for America Maine chapter specifically discusses the Bible as grounds for the definition of “traditional marriage” in the context of efforts to repeal Maine marriage equality:
Throughout the Bible, God has given clear instructions for building society—and the foundation is the family. Nations that have followed God’s plan for society have prospered; those who have rebelled have perished….
For years, Mainers have given generously to shape public policy. But bringing an offering is not all God requires. The Lord told the Israelites—and He is speaking to each of us today–to build a State where He can dwell and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, we see the courts, governors, legislators, and even our President trying to eradicate God from our land. For if God “dwells among us,” then man’s reasoning must bow to divine wisdom. If God “dwells among us,” man’s desires must surrender to God’s commandments….
Brothers and sisters, we must build a country, a state, a community, a home where God’s presence can “dwell among” us. That is why you are here today—standing up for marriage. I urge you to continue standing: write your legislators often, talk to your neighbors, show up at legislative hearings, know where the candidates stand on marriage, go to school board meetings, run for public office. Finally, and most importantly, pray!…
In fact, 29 states have now passed constitutional amendments defining marriage! Brothers and sisters, if California can pass a constitutional amendment through the power of the Holy Spirit–Maine can pass one!
If these organizations’ definition of “traditional marriage” is based in the Bible, if “man’s desires must surrender to God’s commandments,” then what are God’s commandments regarding marriage in the Bible? What is God’s marriage equation?
In Deuteronomy, Moses lays down God’s law, which shall last for a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9). In Deuteronomy 11:27-28, Moses specifically calls refers to the commandments of Deuteronomy as “the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day,” and promises “a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day”. As backup for how seriously God’s laws should be taken, remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19…
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
So what are the “commandments of the LORD your God” in Deuteronomy?
As we discussed yesterday, in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 marriage is defined as an institution between one man going off to war and one woman in his warpath who he captures, shaves, and waits a month to rape. That’s one of the “commandments of the LORD your God,” and Concerned Women of America would have you “surrender to God’s commandments” regarding marriage.
But the “commandments of the LORD your God” don’t stop there in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 21:15, the “commandments of the LORD your God” include instructions on how to handle inheritance “if a man have two wives.” There you have it. If traditional marriage is marriage according to the commandments of the Bible, commandments to last for a thousand generations, until heaven and earth shall pass, then Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman + 1 Woman.
The “commandments of the LORD your God” don’t stop there, either. In Deuteronomy 22:13-21 marriage is a bond between a man and a woman in which, if a husband accuses his wife of not being a virgin upon marriage and the wife’s family can’t physically prove she’s a virgin, all the men in town must stone her to death.
And, nope, the “commandments of the LORD your God” regarding traditional Biblical marriage don’t stop there. In Deuteronomy 22:28-29 marriage is defined as a bond between a man and the woman he rapes, so long as he gives a price of 50 shekels to the woman’s father.
Stand for Marriage Maine and the Vatican and the National Organization for Marriage and Concerned Women for America tell you that they want to see America return to “traditional marriage” as laid out in the commandments of the Bible. The version of “traditional marriage” actually laid out in the Bible’s commandments is strikingly distant from the manner in which marriage is practiced in America today. Do these organizations wish for a return to polyamory, sexual slavery and marriage by rape? Or is the motivation behind their desire to outlaw same-sex marriage something other than biblical?