The church must commit to speaking the truth of the gospel and how it applies to this issue. Specifically, we need to make it clear—especially to our neighbors in the pews beside us—that we cannot love our neighbor and tolerate unrepentant rebellion against God.
The U.S. House—including 47 House Republicans—voted to codify same-sex marriage into federal law, officially abandoning support for traditional marriage.
On Tuesday, the House voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), a bill that repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and provides statutory authority for same-sex marriages.
DOMA is a federal law that restricts federal marriage benefits and requires interstate marriage recognition only for opposite-sex marriages. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
However, the Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor struck down one section of DOMA in 2013. Two years later, the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges stripped away the remaining power of DOMA by requiring all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states.
RFMA replaces the provisions in DOMA and defines marriage, for purposes of federal law, as any marriage that is valid under state law. The bill also requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
RFMA had been floating around Congress since 2009, but it gained more attention after Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the high court should “reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell.”
Of the 204 Republicans who voted on the bill, 47 (23 percent) voted in support. All 267 Democrats also supported the bill, including 11 who had voted for DOMA in 1996.
What It Means
There are four obvious takeaways from the vote on RFMA.
First, Christian politicians no longer look to the Christian view of marriage to compel them to support traditional marriage.
Perhaps in 2022 it’s naive to think they should, since, as one pastor famously said in 2017, we’re not electing them “to be a children’s Sunday School teacher.” Still, it’s shocking that an institution overwhelmingly composed of Christians would abandon even the pretense of supporting the Christian position. In the House, 88 percent of Representatives identify as Christian, and yet 63 percent voted to abandon the Christian view of marriage. (Whether you consider it a first, second, or third order doctrine, the orthodox Christian position on marriage is that we cannot endorse same-sex marriage.)
Second, Christian politicians may not be influenced by Scripture, but they are swayed by polling data.