COMMENTARY | One of the greatest obstacles for gay rights advocates in convincing states across the country to expand marriage rights for homosexuals is convincing conservatives and Christians to support their cause. Conservative Christians still overwhelmingly oppose the creation of gay marriage. As a conservative Christian myself, I am well-versed in the arguments from the Bible against homosexuality, but it is my faith and my belief in conservative ideals that is responsible for my support of gay marriage. If conservative Christians fairly apply their principles to the issue of gay rights, they too will find themselves standing up for marriage equality rather than standing against it.
How True Conservatism Leads to Marriage Equality
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll from March, only 33 percent of conservatives supported gay marriage , compared to over 70 percent for moderates and liberals. This heavy opposition is, however, in spite of conservative ideology, not because of it. True conservatism asserts that involvement from the government in our businesses, culture, and personal lives should be as limited as possible, because it is our belief that the more the government tries to run our lives, the more likely it is that they will infringe on our liberties. Is there any greater violation of our privacy and personal liberty than establishing laws that attempt to control who we can devote our lives to and have relationships with?
Conservatives insist the government has no authority to limit our property rights, tell us how to raise our children or control what kinds of foods we can eat. They oppose high taxes, intrusive government security programs, and the government’s increased involvement in the healthcare system. Conservatives don’t want government mandates that require individuals to buy health insurance, but they do want the government telling the country who can get married and who can’t? True liberty can’t exist in a nation where the most foundational aspect of humanity, family, is approved of or denied based on the political composition of the local legislature. Any attempt to control the personal lives of others is not conservatism at all; it is the complete opposite to everything we stand for.
The Hypocrisy in Christian Conservatism
Only 31 percent of American Christians who identify themselves as “evangelical” support gay marriage , perhaps the lowest level of support of any major demographic. The primary reason for this rejection is based upon passages of the Bible which declare homosexuality to be morally wrong. Regardless of whether or not a Christian believes same-sex relations to be against the teachings of Christ, the Bible clearly declares that the civil government operates in a different sphere of society than the church does (Romans 13:1-7). Further, it is an essential pillar of Christianity that all people have the choice to live according to biblical principles or not. There is no biblical support at all for the teaching that Christians should be forcing others to live according to any specific code of conduct.
Further, conservative Christians do not currently favor abolishing the right to consume alcohol, to gamble, to have sex before marriage, to lie or to commit any other number of biblical prohibitions that are currently permissible under the law. Why then are Christians so opposed to allowing couples of the same sex to have the right to get married? The only consistent position for the Christian community to take on these issues is to either dramatically increase the power of the government to control our lives or to support limiting the authority of the government in all non-essential matters, including gay marriage. Any other position is completely hypocritical.
Standing up for True Christian Conservatism
True Christian conservatism is not tyrannical. It allows others to make choices, even if we don’t agree with those decisions. It supports the creation of laws which treat all people equally under the law regardless of any perceived moral shortcoming. No matter how you may feel or what you may think of homosexuality itself, those who desire to have relationships with one another, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have within their grasp the inalienable guarantee of liberty promised to all Americans in all aspects of life. Any opposition to the guaranteed rights of others is not only morally irresponsible, it is in direct opposition to the true principles of both conservatism and Christianity.