Privatize Marriage?

Written by Allan Erickson on March 31, 2013

[Editor: Here at Clash Daily we generally continue to support the position that the federal government has an interest in and Constitutional authority to endorse “traditional” marriage in a number of different ways. Below is a slightly different viewpoint from one of our regular contributors.}

645px-Edmund_Blair_Leighton_-_Wedding_marchI am beginning to warm to the idea of the government getting out of the marriage business altogether, removing all benefits and advantages from married people, treating each person as an individual, and leaving marriage contracts in the private sphere. Instead of allowing them to redefine marriage, perhaps we should just dodge the bullet and privatize.

One advantage of this arrangement is it takes power and control out of the hands of government thereby preventing the use of government and the courts by activists who seek to infringe upon the rights of others in their efforts to secure special privileges. Those who insist on non-traditional (and frequently unhealthy) lifestyles are going to do what they insist on doing way.

As Christians we hold Scripture as truth in its entirety, but we must acknowledge and agree we cannot force our beliefs. After all, Christ never forced anyone: he simply, yet forcefully, spoke the truth in love, inviting people to accept salvation. Those who mocked Noah for 120 years were never forced, and they eventually faced the flood. I grieve for all those in our day who mock God and insist on living in sin, but neither the government, nor the rule of law, will change their hearts. Only God himself can do that.

Those of us in the majority do not encourage or validate their lifestyle by suggesting marriage be taken out of government hands and placed in the private arena, certified by whatever religious institution, or by none. I do not think we forsake our Lord or retreat from moral standards by refusing to fight a battle that even if we win, leaves us in the place of trying to force conformity, the precursor to continuous conflict.

Besides, if given the choice between fighting homosexuals, and sharing the Gospel with them, it’s a no-brainer.

I also like the idea of pushing this down to the states (Tenth Amendment!) which honors Original Intent, and sets up an interesting situation, because we will then see the ill-effects of homosexual marriage.

In short, the larger society does not endorse homosexuality or homosexual marriage by refusing to fight about it anymore, and by removing it from government oversight. Indeed, we disarm our adversaries in certain ways by moving in this direction. Without the courts and the legislatures to use as a club against us, how will they then use the schools to force an agenda, or twist the arm of the Boy Scouts?

Our stand against all forms of immorality is not diminished by continuing to support majority moral sentiment even as we remove marriage from the purview of government. Our churches do not depend on government. Our witness is not dependent upon government. The benefit of removing government from the picture is removing aggressors from having access to that legislative weapon.

We can certainly work for legislation that prevents special interests from suing to force private citizens and institutions from submitting to the demands of minority interests. Example: the press to institute Sharia, a much greater threat in my view.

We’ll have to think this through more thoroughly. My wife made a great point this morning: age of consent. Some cultures treat girls as property, marrying them off at age nine for a price. Obviously there will have to be some government involvement, but the less the better!

We cannot micromanage liberty in the name of promoting our beliefs as that always becomes coercion. Christ compels but he does not coerce. He invites, he does not twist arms. He proclaims His Word is Truth, both the OT and the NT.

And the Word is very clear about homosexuality. Peer-reviewed scientific studies demonstrate clearly the lifestyle is entirely unhealthy. Anyone who claims to be a Christian, and anyone who claims to love homosexuals, cannot in the same breath promote a lifestyle that is destructive.

Society does not endorse homosexuality by saying marriage is a private matter. All we do is continue promoting the good in our private lives by our witness, reaching out to those who are drowning in sin as Christ did for us. We are already seeing large numbers of people coming out of the lifestyle, and others testifying about its terrible consequences.

Do we have faith the Truth will stand on its own merit?

Image: Wedding March; date: 1919; source:;
author Edmund Blair Leighton; Edmund Leighton (1853–1922) ; public domain/copyright expired

Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012, serves on the board of He is available to speak in churches addressing the topics of faith and freedom. Register & Vote! Contact: