Biblical Scholars: Actually, ‘Traditional Marriage’ Isn’t Just One Man and One Woman

Opponents of marriage equality frequently use so-called evidence from the Bible to argue that same-sex marriage is “unnatural,” “immoral,” or any number of harmful (and incorrect) adjectives. But a group of Biblical scholars have come forward to say that, despite what some misguided conservatives think, the religious text doesn’t prove anything about the definition of marriage.

In an op-ed for the Altoona Herald, Robert R. Cargill, Hector Avalos, and Kenneth Atkinson, — all biblical scholars – list all the ways in which the Bible describes marriage as something other than an exclusively heterosexual, monogamous institution:

… we wish to clarify that the biblical texts do not support the frequent claim that marriage between one man and one woman is the only type of marriage deemed acceptable by the Bible’s authors.

The fact that marriage is not defined as only that between one man and one woman is reflected in the entry on “marriage” in the authoritative Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (2000): “Marriage is one expression of kinship family patterns in which typically a man and at least one woman cohabitate publicly and permanently as a basic social unit” (p. 861).

This dictionary definition forms the basis of their claim. They say that the use of the phrase “at least one woman” is the clearest sanction of polygamy, which comes as no surprise to those who have read the Bible. In many cases, men with multiple wives were actually “highly blessed,” as evidenced by some of the deeply disturbing Biblical passages you may already be familiar with:

In fact, there were a variety of unions and family configurations that were permissible in the cultures that produced the Bible, and these ranged from monogamy (Titus 1:6) to those where rape victims were forced to marry their rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and to those Levirate marriage commands obligating a man to marry his brother’s widow regardless of the living brother’s marital status (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Genesis 38; Ruth 2-4). Others insisted that celibacy was the preferred option (1 Corinthians 7:8; 28).

A different argument is that the Bible doesn’t advocate too strongly for lifelong marriage at all, illustrated by readings of the Bible that interpret acceptance of divorce and remarriage, along with some more antiquated guidelines:

In fact, during a discussion of marriage in Matthew 19:12, Jesus even encourages those who can to castrate themselves “for the kingdom” and live a life of celibacy.

Ezra 10:2-11 forbids interracial marriage and orders those people of God who already had foreign wives to divorce them immediately.

In this piece, the writers elaborate on a concept that should be addressed more explicitly in the marriage equality debate: while the Bible doesn’t necessarily endorse same-sex marriage or relationships (though some contest this opinion — David and Jonathan, anyone?), neither does it state that the only virtuous marriages are those between one man and one woman.

Since this is the philosophy that propels much anti-gay rhetoric from the religious right, it’s crucial to reiterate that their most sacred piece of evidence doesn’t actually support their position at all.

Thankfully the authors of this particular piece don’t stop there, but remind us of the greater, more important notion that religion has no place in politics:

Accordingly, we must guard against attempting to use ancient texts to regulate modern ethics and morals, especially those ancient texts whose endorsements of other social institutions, such as slavery, would be universally condemned today, even by the most adherent of Christians.

(Image via Shutterstock — Thanks to Alan for the link!)

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at

  • Nina Wolfson

    Betty Bowers explains “Traditional Marriage” best. =)

    • WallofSleep

      Heh, beat me to it. Good job.

      • Nina Wolfson

        Hehehe…Any excuse to re-post Betty. =D

    • griffox

      I was going to post this as well. That’s why she’s America’s Best Christian. She knew this before the Bible scholars did. :-)

      • Nina Wolfson

        The Best and FAR most entertaining. =)

    • Regina Carol Moore

      I am a huge fan of Deven Green (Betty Bowers) and I was thinking about posting this link for this article, too! But you beat me to it, clever Nina!

      • Nina Wolfson

        She’s instantly my Go To Gal wherever the words “Traditional Marriage” appear. =D

      • Amor DeCosmos

        Wha? You mean Betty Bowers is just a character? She isn’t real? Oh, way to ruin it for me.

        • Regina Carol Moore

          I’m so sorry. But if it makes you feel any better, Pat Robertson is real!

          • busterggi

            “The horror, the horror.”

          • Amor DeCosmos

            Thank you, you have reaffirmed my belief in Poe’s Law.

    • busterggi

      Betty explains everything best!

    • Randay

      I see that many of us are on the same track. See Betty’s “Save the hole in front for marriage”:

      Also see her video on abortion. Thanks Nina for posting.

  • WallofSleep

    Excellent post.

  • MargueriteF

    “…the biblical texts do not support the frequent claim that marriage between one man and one woman is the only type of marriage deemed acceptable by the Bible’s authors.”

    This is so obvious that it hardly seems worth mentioning. Still, the more people pointing it out, the better, I suppose.

    • WoodwindsRock

      While it may be blatantly obvious, it’s completely ignored – or perhaps not even known – by the large group of Christians who go around parading about how their belief that same-sex marriage is wrong is “Biblical” and a “deeply-held religious belief”.

      The fact that it’s not consistent with the Bible in any way, shape, or form is something I believe HAS to be pointed out because it just makes their argument all of the more ridiculous. I mean, I’m not giving any validity to the Bible. I’m saying that if we can show that it’s not even stated by their holy book, then it can no longer really be seen and respected as a true religious belief by the majority.

    • smalltownamy

      In my experience, most Christians don’t read the Bible. They listen to carefully chosen excerpts in church on Sunday and then they read books (churned out by mega-church ministers) who also carefully choose excerpts. All of this is designed to keep everybody comfortable in their belief that they are good people who only believe in good things like their kind and loving God who only smites bad people who read too many books and ask too many questions.

      So, yeah. It’s helpful to post things like the Biblical Marriage Chart ( on Facebook and other places where Christians might accidentally find it.

      • Miss_Beara

        “But that is the old testament.”

        Christian Cherry Picker

        • WoodwindsRock

          Yet all too many of the verses that they pull up to oppose homosexuality (which they somehow extend to the legalization of same-sex marriage being a violation of their religious freedom) are from the Old Testament.

          It’s funny, they’ll quote directly from Leviticus to oppose homosexuality, and then you’ll tell them all of the awful things in the Bible, and in the very same conversation they’ll say “Oh, but that’s in the Old Testament, we don’t follow that.”

  • cipher

    They aren’t real Bible scholars. They didn’t go to Married Cousins Bible College and they aren’t Lacerated Lamb of God Baptists – ergo, they’re heretics.

    • griffox

      They are just Libtards in sheep’s clothing, trying to push the radical aggressive gay agenda to turn everyone gay and make it illegal to have a traditional, God sanctioned MARRIAGE. It’s all about taking religious freedom away. AND GUNS!!!!

      • cipher

        You betcha! We were saying this very thing just the other night at the Father/Daughter Purity Ball.

        • Willy Occam

          Ha! Father/Daughter Purity Ball… now there’s a creepy by-product of the contemporary Christian movement.

          • Spuddie

            It can get creepier.

            “Lets switch partners for this dance!”

          • servantheart

            Willy you scare me!

      • Mario Strada

        We actually wanted to expand it to V8 carbureted engines and raised pickups, but were having a hard time because of the Ferrari V8 which are obviously our preferred engines. But we should be successful with the Monster trucks pick up.

  • Houndentenor

    Polygamy is common in the Bible (and never actually condemned) and is still practiced in many parts of the world (like the middle east or Idaho).

    More important, the idea of marriage resulting from romantic love in which the two partners chose their own spouses was almost unheard of before the 19th century.

    • Ibis3

      the idea of marriage resulting from romantic love in which the two partners chose their own spouses was almost unheard of before the 19th century.

      And even so, was still mostly an economic arrangement. You could marry for love, but it better be in your own class, a higher class, or someone with more money or property than you.

  • ortcutt

    I don’t know why anyone cares what the Bible says about marriage. It’s completely and utterly irrelevant. Marriage is a legal status established by statute. Every jurisdiction has a statute that determines who can get married and how. That’s the basic part that religious people don’t seem to understand. God doesn’t make the laws. Our legislatures make the laws. When our legislatures make laws that include gender distinctions, there needs to be very good reason to do so. That is a hurdle that marriage equality opponents have never been able to meet.

    • Miss_Beara

      Because the Bible is the Word Of God and I know that because God wrote it therefore the Bible is Truth.

      That kind of made me ill writing that. :)

      • ortcutt

        If they think that God makes the laws, why do they care what the Illinois Legislature does? That’s what I’ve never understood. Either they believe that the Illinois Legislature does make the laws, in which case, what does God have to do with it? Or they think that the Illinois Legislature doesn’t make the laws, in which case, why do they care what it does?

        • baal

          They want the Illinois Legislature (and everyone else) to only speak phrases that they (the authoritarian christians) like. All must bow down to their god or we’re working against their god. These trifles about what the bible actually says are beside the point*.

          *Catholics are at least a bit more honest on the bible reading part. The dogma is that a priest must tell you what the bible says since the church teachings don’t always match all that well with the book. Various evangelicals say you get to read the bible but you’re not reading it with the right mindset if you diagree with their reading.

          • servantheart

            when do we all get to worship baal?

      • servantheart

        Perhaps we can pray about that Miss_Beara!

    • C Peterson

      We’re a Christian country. Founded by Christians. On Christian principles. With Christian values. So all of our laws must be based on the Bible. All of our laws need only be justified by the Bible.

      All this time, and you still don’t understand the way these people think?

      • ortcutt

        When I listen to these debates (and I watched the floor debates in Rhode Island and Delaware) what I hear is that either (1) marriage just is a union between a man and woman or (2) God has decreed what marriage is and man can’t change that. If they believe either of those two things to be true, why do they care what any legislature does about its marriage statutes? Why are they arguing against something that they believe to be impossible?

        By contrast, what I heard from marriage equality opponents in France was things like “It’s bad for children”. These are arguments with no factual basis whatsoever, but they are at least arguments. 99% of what you hear from marriage equality opponents in the US basically misunderstands the nature of marriage law, and these are legislators making these comments.

        • C Peterson

          In case you haven’t noticed, the religious apparently don’t trust God to enforce its own laws, so they’re all lined up with their lynching ropes to do it themselves.

          • ortcutt

            They seem to miss the point that they can’t rationally hold both of the following claims, but I heard them both again and again from the same people.

            (1) We can’t legislate marriage.

            (2) We shouldn’t legislate marriage.

          • servantheart

            C Peterson, you’re just as religious as they are…. don’t fool yourself.

        • Space Cadet

          Here in California, all the ads (the ones I remember, at least) from the marriage equality opponents centered around kids, mostly concerning how they’ll learn about hot, gay sex in Kindergarten. The floor debates may have been different, but the everyday culture war was all about the kids.

          • chicago dyke

            that’s a big part of it. but the slimier of them will argue that gays marrying and having children leads to child rape. and/or that it will ‘turn’ children gay, to have a same sex couple of parents.

            the “for the children” argument seems to be the one growing in popularity right now, since the ’1 mayun 1 girl’ schtick proved a failure. not really a surprise to see them shift tactics, but it’ll be all about Teh Chilluns from now until full equality, i’m betting.

            • ortcutt

              “For the children” is a declining argument though. No one can explain why living in foster care is better for children than having gay parents. Are they going to attack reproductive techniques like surrogacy and sperm donation instead? A lot of straight couples are going to be pissed about that, and preventing same-sex couples from marrying isn’t going to prevent that anyway, it’s just going to mean that the children don’t have married parents. “For the children” arguments also make no sense in the states that already allow gay couples to adopt.

              The new big argument is “gay marriage violates religious freedom”. This usually goes something like “How do we know that churches won’t be forced to marry gays?” “Because the law explicitly states that churches will still be able to decide who they want to marry, just as they always have.” “But what about florists that don’t want to sell flowers to gay weddings?” “Well, that’s already covered by the state human rights law, so I don’t see what would change.” The problem with these religious freedom arguments is that they are transparently nonsense, so we’re usually back to “you can’t legislate marriage” or “you’re being divisive” or something else similarly pointless. I challenge anyone to watch these floor debates without despairing at the nonsense that is uttered.

              • Anna

                It’s just so confusing. “Think of the children!” might be a good argument if you were talking about adoption laws or reproductive technology, but I’m puzzled why they keep using that argument for same-sex marriage. Banning marriage doesn’t erase already-existing children with same-sex parents, and it doesn’t deter LGBT people from having more children in the future.

                • ortcutt

                  Exactly. Especially when they claim that marriage is great for children. OK, if marriage is great for children, why do they think that gay parents with children shouldn’t be allowed to marry? If they just stood up and said “I’m not very bright and scared of change,” I would have a lot more respect for the marriage equality opponents, because it would be a lot more cogent than what they do say.

                • servantheart

                  we’re obviously not as “bright” as you are ortcutt, since you’re so bright you’ve replaced God with yourself!

                • servantheart

                  it messes with children’s minds Anna… do we have to explain that to you?

                • servantheart

                  You’re absolutely right! Those children are already going to be screwed up, so we might as well have the rest screwed up as well!! ;)

            • servantheart

              you must mean until eternity.

          • Anna

            Which is funny because there was nothing to stop kindergarten teachers from reading And Tango Makes Three (hot, gay penguin sex!) to their classes before Prop 8, and there was nothing to stop them from doing so afterwards. Talk about a red herring.

            • Mairianna

              Don’t penguin males raise the babies? How anti-biblical is that???? :)

              • Anna

                Heck, male seahorses actually give birth! I’d hate to see a conservative Christian try to explain that to their children.

                Time to ban Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle.


                • servantheart

                  yeah, what child could understand that seahorses are different than humans?

              • servantheart

                Actually they switch off in raising the newly laid egg and once it’s hatched the new baby penguin. I think they also did this in Biblical times… so it’s very Biblical.

          • servantheart

            it is all about the kids…and of course the social security.

        • servantheart

          it is true that it’s bad for children.

      • Mairianna

        It’s ignorance and laziness…mostly laziness, I think.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Because a lot of people find that whole “laws cannot be based on religion” thing highly inconvenient and therefore ignore it.

      Much like they ignore the contradictions in their holy book, or the fact that this country wasn’t founded on Christianity, or any other thing that contradicts their “deeply held beliefs.”

      • ortcutt

        If they wanted to be honest about it, they’d say “God has decreed what marriage is supposed to be, and if we don’t follow that in our statute, then He will withdraw his favor from our state”. For some reason they can’t bring themselves to say that though, at least not in Rhode Island or Delaware. So, instead we get inanities.

        • servantheart

          so what if He does withdraw His favor from the state of Rhode Island or Delaware…. what would happen?

      • servantheart

        or the fact that you rely on historical revisionist tactics to make most of your points.

    • servantheart

      funny thing though,…. marriage existed before we had laws about marriage. Sorry for that little known fact for you to slip on… ortcutt.

  • C Peterson

    especially those ancient texts whose endorsements of other social institutions, such as slavery, would be universally condemned today, even by the most adherent of Christians.

    Boy, they’re optimistic.

  • Miss_Beara

    endorsements of other social institutions, such as slavery, would be universally condemned today, even by the most adherent of Christians.

    They “reason” themselves out of that though. They tend to say “it was a different time” or “it wasn’t slavery the way we know slavery” or “you atheists always take the bible literally” or “they treated the slaves well.”

    I wouldn’t necessarily say universallycondemned. We know that many people still have a hatred towards interracial couples after the Cheerios commercial.

    • WallofSleep

      I used to get a lot of idiots telling me “You haven’t spent enough time studying the torah/talmud/bible to fully understand it” bullshit.

      My standard response was “And how many years must I study Mother Goose & Grimm before I’m allowed to conclude that Little Red Riding-hood is naught more than a fairy tale”? That’s usually the end of the conversation.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Consider also asking them to go to Wikipedia and read about the Courtier’s Reply.

        • WallofSleep

          New one on me, the Courtier’s Reply. Thanks for that. Heh, no surprise, though. When I was a kid I thought I was the first to “discover” peanut butter on pancakes.

          • Spuddie

            We all have to discover that one on our own in the course of our lives. Its part of the great journey of growing up. =)

        • servantheart

          another obligatory pseudo defense

      • Harold

        Nice, the Bible = Fairy Tales.

        Algebra = calculator…

        • servantheart

          atheistic world view = fairy tales

    • smalltownamy

      And I see enough trucks and biceps decorated with Confederate flags and Jesus fish and/or crosses to know that some Christians long for the time of slavery.

      • servantheart

        slavery is doing quite well around the world…. but unfortunately not among Christians.

    • Randay

      Theologically, you must be in error. There must be some verses somewhere in the NT that “explain” and “clarify” the pro-slavery verses so as to be acceptable now. I haven’t personally found them, but they must be there.

    • servantheart

      You make a pretty good slave Miss_Beara

  • Willy Occam

    Cherry-pickers gonna pick….

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Ezra 10:2-11 …”We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from
    the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for
    Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women
    and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of
    those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the

    Crap. Does this mean have to send my wife and kids back to South America? I mean, if I really fear the commands of God?

    • MelissaG

      Key points they had already been unfaithful to their God. He did not tell them to marry them, nor did he tell them to send them away. They were acting of their own wills. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  • eonL5

    My middle-school-aged son told me just yesterday that his friends don’t believe him when he says government defines the laws of marriage, not religions. Even when he tells them that his own parents were married by a government official, and not in a church, they can’t comprehend that. To them, marriage is ONLY a religious thing. And for this reason same-sex marriage cannot be “legalized” by the government. That leaves me really wondering about their reasoning skills. I mean seriously! This is New England, not Alabama, for dogs sake.

    • Spuddie

      Stupidity is a universal thing. It respects no state boundaries.

    • ortcutt

      OK, then they have no reason to complain about the marriage statute. That’s what confuses me. If they think marriage is entirely religious, then why are they concerned about the state’s marriage statute?

    • servantheart

      What’s dog got to do with it?

  • The Other Weirdo

    How many children did Abraham by women other than his God-espoused wife Sarah? How many of her handmaidens did she give to him to impregnate?

    • MelissaG

      1 Hagar against the will of God. Muslims use this very relationship to this day to fuel their hatred for the Jews.

  • Justin

    Not “interracial marriage,” but inter tribal marriage is forbidden in Ezra. I forget where, but elsewhere there are processes outlined for naturalization.

  • havalos

    Thanks for posting this. Just one clarification concerning: “In an op-ed for the Altoona Herald…”

    Our Op-ed piece was written for The Des Moines Register, the state’s largest newspaper:

    The Altoona Herald just reposted it.

  • rwlawoffice

    The authors try to reach the conclusion that the Bible endorses polygamy because there are examples of it by some of the key figures in the Old Testament who were blessed. What they fail to point out is that these same people were judged for their polygamy and faced the consequences of it. Further, they gloss over the New Testament where the teaching clearly supports one man and one woman as the ideal for marriage.

    As for the implication that same sex marriage is endorsed in the Bible through the description of the relationship between David and Jonathan, that is a a modern attempt to read into the text what is not there.

    What is becoming clear however is the prediction that an attempt to have society embrace same sex marriage would lead to the next step of societal acceptance of polygamy. That is occurring right now. Suit has already been filed in Utah trying to overturn the state’s ban on polygamy.

    • Feminerd

      David was judged because he forcibly married a woman (rape) after sending her husband to die (murder). Even then, it wasn’t he who got punished- the baby got killed, which punishes the baby pretty well, but David didn’t get touched.

      Solomon was rewarded for his polygamy (over 700 wives) and nary a condemning word was said about them other than some were foreign women. Jacob married Leah and Rachel and also slept with/raped their slave women. This was all very positively portrayed and God-sanctioned. If you point to Leviticus to condemn homosexuality, you must also point to the Levitical commandments about marrying your brother’s widow no matter your own marital status. There’s also rules in Exodus about how if you buy a female sex slave and decide to keep her permanently (marry her) and then take another wife, you can’t abandon her. That implies God is A-OK with multiple wives, though.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Actually, according to the NT, the IDEAL situation is to castrate yourself and not marry. Might wanna actually read that book you keep lying about. Y’know, like how you keep lying through omission about the part where Jesus never says anything about it, and how that “ideal of marriage” argument isn’t actually in the NT, but is rather your, ahem, “modern attempt to read into the text what is not there.” Robert, why do you have to lie about the Bible to make your case? Is God not strong in your heart?

      Weird how “consensus of Biblical scholars describing exactly what is written” trumps “documented liar attorney who plays word games that he switches around as convenient, is stupid enough to think that slippery slope arguments work on anyone, and is dishonestly trying to malign said Biblical scholars.”

      • rwlawoffice

        I find it funny that I am called a liar when people don’t agree with me. I keep asking for an example of where I lied and never get one.

        Before you suggest that I should read the Bible, you really should understand it yourself. I am comfortable in my understanding that the Biblical position on the ideal marriage is one man and one woman. It is clear throughout that those that practiced polygamy suffered for it. It is also clear that in the NT the discussion of marriage is always between one man and one woman. But you can continue to be ignorant if you want to.

        As for a “consensus” of Bible scholars- I think that three professors from the University of Iowa, one of whom is a history professor is hardly a consensus of Biblical scholars.

    • Spuddie

      “What is becoming clear however is the prediction that an attempt to have
      society embrace same sex marriage would lead to the next step of
      societal acceptance of polygamy.”

      Because you have absolutely nothing to say about the facts as same sex marriage and you want to divert the discussion away from it as much as possible.

      Please tell me exactly how much is gay marriage similar to polygamy that you would think one would imply acceptance of the other?

      While you are at it, you can also try to explain how gay marriage has anything to do with attempts to legalize polygamy which have been made for over a century?

      What is becoming clear is how dishonest you are when discussing this subject.

      • rwlawoffice

        I never said same sex marriage is similar to polygamy. What I said is that the agenda to push for societal acceptance of same sex marriage has led us to now see the push for acceptance of polygamy. The logical connection is based upon the change in definition with a decrease in the ability to argue for limitations based upon this new definition. The attempt to legalize polygamy now is based upon this new definition of marriage- based entirely upon two people being in love as the reason it should be sanctioned by the state. If that is the criteria, there is no logical way to limit it to two people. You can disagree and claim that it will never happen but you would be wrong.

        We are already seeing in popular magazines (Slate for example), scientific journals the case being made for polygamy (Scientific American) People that want polygamy are now using the case precedent for the cases that approved same sex marriage as the legal precedent to support their claims.

        • Spuddie

          It just “leads to it” even though the two are not actually related in any way logically or on its facts. You are weaselwording. Your notion of cause and effect is equally dishonest.

          The “push” for polygamy is over a century old. Marriage equality is much more recent. To claim marriage equality led to an isolated and culturally specific attempt to legalize polygamy is without any kind of support.

          You undermine your own argument. If the argument for marriage equality is 2 consenting adults in love, 3+ consenting adults is not the same definition is it?

          Your argument is that if you make one change, all will be permitted. That is complete bullshit. Its like saying repealing miscegenation laws led to a push to legalize polygamy. Again a change to marriage laws but not leading down your slippery slope. Your argument is completely silly because there are fundamental differences between them. Those differences keep one from leading to the other.
          Support for polygamy is independent of support for marriage equality. The two are not related. As for your “already seeing in popular magazines”, send a link. You have already proven yourself dishonest once, there is no reason to take you at face value now. Ironically polygamists are strong opponents of gay marriage.

          “People that want polygamy are now using the case precedent for the cases that approved same sex marriage as the legal precedent to support their

          …and failing miserably since there are rational and secular reasons for polygamy being illegal. There are none for marriage equality.

          • Anna

            This is particularly insane because most of the countries that do allow polygamy are also extremely homophobic. Polygamy is much older, more “traditional,” and tends to be adopted by followers of rigid, patriarchal religions, just the same as the one Robert follows.

            • Spuddie

              Well nobody ever said his argument was grounded in facts or logic. Its just a something people use when they want to avoid saying, “We hate teh gay”.

            • Rwlawoffice

              So how do you explain our country which historically been Christian by a large majority and has until very recently had laws against homosexuality has always outlawed polygamy nationally? Has established the culture of marriage to be between one man and one woman?

              What you see now in our country is just what I am describing. As we define marriage to be whatever the adults want based upon their emotions, the state’s acceptance of that being a right inevitably leads to further expansion.

              • Anna

                You make no sense. In the first place, there is no organized movement to legalize polygamy in the United States. The polygamists in Utah would be happy enough to have the state stop persecuting them for their religious marriages. Except in Utah, it is not illegal to conduct religious or ceremonial marriages and live together with more than one spouse. The state does not recognize those marriages, but there is nothing stopping people from having them.

                South Africa is the only country in the world which recognizes both same-sex marriage and polygamist marriage, but even there they are not legal civil marriages, and they are for different groups. Rights are only given to members of tribal groups. Your slippery-slope argument is even more nonsensical in that country, since tribal polygamists gained rights in 1998, and same-sex marriage was not legal until 2006.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Merely arguing that you do not connect them doesn’t make them unconnected. It is not a slippery slope argument when we are already on the slide.

            When you change the definition and reason for marriage from its traditional societal functions of being the social construct for the regulation on procreation and tying children to their biological parents to an institution based upon the adult idea of who they love as its only real reason, then you have fundamentally changed the institution. The argument to limit that institution to two people is weak and those that want to expand it will find support in the legal precedent being set. The arguments that the state has a legitimate reason to limit it are already being challenged and finding support from the same sex marriage proponents. For example, there is already legislation being proposed in California to have multiple persons involved in the birth of a child for same sex couples on the birth certificates and with parental rights. There are already cases being litigated where the same sex partner of the parent of a child is pushing for parental rights due to being a de facto parent.Thus there is already a push for multiple parents of a child. This same notion and these same arguments provide support for the polygamous lifestyle.

            You can argue now that this won’t happen but it already is and even if you view some of the posts here you will see support for it coming from those that support same sex marriage.

            • TCC

              Merely asserting that this is not a slippery slope argument doesn’t make it so.

        • phantomreader42

          Several decades ago, it was illegal to marry someone of a different race. Bigoted lunatics screeched in horror when miscegenation laws were challenged, claiming that changing the definition of marriage to allow mixed-race marriages was harmful to children, an affront to god, and would lead to polygamy and a wide array of imagined horrors. Those people were wrong, and they were stupid, and they were proven to be so well before many of the people here were born. And yet, rwlawoffice, you use the same moronic arguments they used, arguments founded on lies, bigotry, and stupidity, arguments proven false decades ago. Do you know nothing of history? Or are you just a lying sack of shit?

    • cary_w

      Just curious to know what exactly your objections to polygamy are? If your objections come from your interpretation of the bible, then how do you reconcile that the FLDS interpretation of the same bible sees polygamy as just fine and even encouraged by God. How do you explain that? Is your religion the only “true” religion and everyone else is wrong? Do you actually what the government to make all it’s laws based on your religious beliefs? And how will you feel if the government decides your religion isn’t the “right” one and starts making all it’s laws based on the FLDS, Muslin or Buddist beliefs? I’m not trying to be snarky here, I just think those are legitimate questions, and if you can honestly answer them, it will help you understand the reasons and the importance of separation of church and state.

      As far as legalizing polygamy, it’s true that some of the arguments for it are the same as some of the arguments for legalizing gay marriage.
      1. Why should we restrict the action of consenting adults in their own homes?
      2. It’s pro-family, children deserve to have parent who can marry, it protects them in the unfortunate cases where a parent dies and allows them to inherit the wealth of all their parents, among other things.
      3. It protects spouses, if you can legally marry, then you can legally divorce and have a right to some share of the combined wealth of your spouse or spouses.
      4. Religious freedom. Is it really alright for our government to infringe on our religious freedom when no one is being hurt and no other laws are broken? Clearly the government must draw the line when people or animals getting abused, but why is our government favoring some religions over others? There are plenty of religions that accept gay marriage and/or polygamy.

      And finally, this doesn’t really apply to gay marriage, but many legalized polygamy supporter in Utah see legalization as a way of forcing the FLDS more into the mainstream, which will be an important step in ending the child abuse, spousal abuse and fraud that is all to common their communities. And being mo in the mainstream will make it easier for those who wish to leave those communities get out with their children and some of their assets; as things are now, many of those who leave the FLDS, leave with noting but the clothes on their backs, and find they have no legal way to claim any of their assets.

      • rwlawoffice

        I believe that society has valid and legitimate reasons to limit state recognized marriages to one man and one woman. I don’t believe that society is served when the basis for the marriage recognition is exclusively on adult love. In other words- I am in love with this person or persons and thus I should be able to marry them and the state has no interest in prohibiting that marriage. This new definition creates instability in society and ultimately hurts children. Not every family of course, but as a whole.

        I have not studied the FLDS position on how they believe that the Bible supports polygamy. I would venture to guess that this support includes the latter revelations of Joseph Smith and other prophets in the church and is not entirely based upon the Bible. But would need to study it to respond.

        • phantomreader42

          rwlawoffice, known liar:

          I believe that society has valid and legitimate reasons to limit state recognized marriages to one man and one woman.

          I notice you don’t say what you think those reasons are. “Magic man in the sky no likey”? “Teh ghey buttsecks iz ICKY”? Something based on an idiotic lie debunked decades ago?

          • cary_w

            To be fair, anything that starts, “I believe…. ” is not a lie, but I would be very interested to what s/he thinks those “valid and legitimate reasons” are. Just because something is icky, is no reason to ban it. To tell you the truth, I find the whole idea of gay buttsex rather revolting and extremely icky, but I also think it’s none of my flipping business what consenting adult do in private. And I think a lot of Christians have an unhealthy desire to interfere with other people’s sex lives, I find that very icky as well.

            • phantomreader42

              To be even more fair, pointing out that rwlawoffice is a known liar helps establishe how credible his beliefs are. Also, if he really DOES believe that there are valid and legitimate reasons to treat gay people as second-class citizens, then why can’t he be bothered to state what those reasons are? Most likely because he knows they’re shitty reasons that can’t survive any exposure to the facts.

              • Rwlawoffice

                See above for my reasons. Also, point out where I have lied?

                • phantomreader42

                  Claiming you have valid reasons is a lie, because your reasons are a worthless load of shit. Claiming that not allowing your bigoted death cult to enforce your sick dogma by law erodes religious liberty is a lie, religious liberty is for EVERYONE, not just for brain-dead assholes who hate the same people you do. Claiming that acceptance of same-sex marriage inevitably erodes religious liberty, and has already done so, is a lie for the same reason. Claiming that you have never lied because you refuse to recognize any reality that you find inconvenient is also a lie, and will not magically stop being a lie when you repeat it.

                • rwlawoffice

                  You really need to learn the definition of the word lie. It would help your argument.

                • phantomreader42

                  The things you say are NOT TRUE. Your claims are FALSE. This has been explained to you repeatedly. So many times that, unless you are dumber than the average rock or functionally illiterate, you must KNOW that the bullshit you keep repeating is not true. What do you think a lie IS, other than deliberately saying something you know to be false in hopes of decieving people? Looks like YOU really need to learn the definition of the word lie.
                  For future reference, would you prefer that I operate on the assumption that you are:
                  A: Lying
                  B: Incapable of comprehending written English.
                  C: Dumber than dog shit.
                  D: All of the above.
                  If you decline to answer, I’ll assume D.

        • cary_w

          How, exactly, do gay and polygamist marriages create instability in society? And is that a legitimate reason to ban them? The instability I see currently is caused by people who want such marriages feeling persecuted and feeling like they are being denied rights and religious freedom. Do you expect the government to ban all thing that cause instability in society? That seems unreasonable and it seems impossible to clearly define what “instability in society” actually means.

          How, exactly, do gay and polygamist families hurt children? A recent study reported in Salon shows that gay parent actually do a little better that straight parents at raising kids, and even you admit some polygamist families are not harmful. Child abuse is its own problem and occurs in every type of family, it is not caused by having non-traditional parents. And what about the children who are hurt by having parents who are not allowed to marry? If a parent dies or their family splits up, they are at risk for being forced away from the only family they know, is that not harmful?

          Clearly the FLDS do not interpret the bible as you do and have prophets you do not follow. But you have not answered the question of how you know that you are right and they are wrong. Why do you feel the government should make laws based on your interpretation instead of theirs? Are you advocating for one “true”, state-sponsored religion? In a country founded on the basis of religious freedom, I find this unacceptable. You cannot enjoy your own religious freedom without accepting some allowances for other people’s religious freedom.

          • Rwlawoffice

            None of my arguments are based upon the Biblical ideal of marriage being between one man and one woman. The harms of changing the definition of marriage to accommodate these relationships are explained in other responses.

            • Spuddie

              Can you be more specific about the actual harm involved. Just that you say it will cause harm. But you don’t bother to come up with what it is.

              Have we seen such harm in places where gay marriage is already legal? If so what has happened over there?

        • Spuddie

          “I believe that society has valid and legitimate reasons to limit state recognized marriages to one man and one woman.”

          But you can’t actually name one based on the actual facts of gay marriage. You just declare so and walk away from it. Expecting people to take such things at face value. But the truth of the matter is there are no rational or secular arguments against gay marriage. Polygamy, your instant discussion derailer has plenty of rational and secular arguments against it. (ie havoc to existing estate, property, child custody, divorce laws….)

          • Rwlawoffice

            The same issues with child custody etc. that you see with polygamy are already happening in same sex relationships and marriages. Like I said, there is already a movement to recognize the rights of those that donate sperm or an egg so that there can be more than two parents on a birth certificate. So that more than two adults can have parental rights.

            I have stated my arguments against changing the definition of marriage so that the state does not have a legitimate basis to limit it to one man and one woman. They are based upon the argument that the state does not have a legitimate reason to limit consenting adults who are in love from getting married. Once you accept this premise, then it is a thin wall of defense to argue the number is important. Thus the harm is not in the individual marriage between two people of the same sex, it is the change in the definition of marriage to accommodate the acceptance of that as a state sanctioned marriage. This does not even address the erosion of religious liberties that we see with the acceptance of same sex marriage that inevitably occurs and is already happening.

            • Spuddie

              Lying again. The issues with gamete donation are independent of gay marriage. They affect ALL couples which adopt. It is an adoption issue. So holding it out as an objection to gay marriage is not rational.

              Your arguments are based on a rhetorical fallacy and have nothing to do with gay marriage on its own facts. If anything it is all a way to avoid discussion of the subject. Slippery slope arguments are a rhetorical fallacy. Not a reason unto itself. You go for circular reasoning on the harm caused to society by gay marriage. Never actually bothering to go beyond the “slippery slope” or define what actual harm is caused. By your logic repeal of miscegenation, which changed how the state defines and limited marriage should have led to polygamy and mass buggery.

              The most dishonest part of claiming possible harm caused by gay marriage is ignoring how many states and countries have already adopted it and none of your alleged harms have come to pass. Unless you can cough up actual examples from places where it already exists, you are just making crap up.

      • Anna

        Also, just to point out, it’s very much a mistake to equate Mormon polygamy with FLDS. That is one abusive branch, but there are many other fundamentalist Mormon groups that do not hide away on compounds and marry underage girls. The Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) is one such group. Kody Brown and his family (of TLC fame) are notable members.

        That branch of the religion is certainly patriarchal and sexist, but I would be hard pressed to see them as worse than the fundamentalist form of “regular” Christianity that Robert follows. In fact, just going by what I’ve seen on Sister Wives, their children are allowed much more freedom than traditional fundamentalists like the Duggars. I’d much rather be a Brown than a Duggar. At least they let their kids wear normal clothes, attend public school, and go to college.

    • PhiloKGB

      Are you insinuating that the current lawsuit to overturn Utah’s polygamy ban is the first one ever? Because that would be a lie. And I know you know it would be a lie. So don’t lie, K?

      • rwlawoffice

        Never said that. The point is that the current lawsuit or suits that are pushing for polygamy now use the legal precedent established by the same sex marriage cases.

        • Spuddie

          Actually you did. You mentioned it as if such efforts came after marriage equality efforts. Proclaiming that marriage equality leads to polygamy. Trying to make a false causal link between the two and blaming the polygamy effort on marriage equality.

          When have you stopped lying?

          • Rwlawoffice

            When have I lied? You have yet to point it out. I really think you need to understand the definition of a lie. And yes the current lawsuits are using the legal precedents and the arguments used by the same sex proponents. That was my point and that is what I said.

            • Spuddie


              The polygamy case is not citing marriage equality at all. That was your first lie. It is citing the case decriminalizing sodomy.

              Some polygamy supporters have noted that adultery laws still exist, but no one is prosecuted for such crimes. The Brown lawsuit is not asking the state to recognize plural marriage. Attorneys are citing Lawrence v.Texas as a precedent.

              Your second is the notion that acceptance of marriage equality has led to acceptance of polygamy. It hasn’t.

    • phantomreader42

      rwlawoffice, functionally illiterate fraud:

      The authors try to reach the conclusion that the Bible endorses polygamy because there are examples of it by some of the key figures in the Old Testament who were blessed.

      rwlawoffice, dumber than the average rock:

      What is becoming clear however is the prediction that an attempt to have society embrace same sex marriage would lead to the next step of societal acceptance of polygamy.

      So, let’s get this straight. In your twisted fantasies, multiple examples of biblical patriarchs and prophets engaging in polygamy and being called blessed for it does NOT mean the bible endorses polygamy, but your bizarre obsession with a slippery slope that has nothing to do with marriage equality SOMEHOW means the gay boogeymen are endorsing polygamy. Do you just not know what words mean? I find it hard to believe you’re as dumb as you seem yet can still remember to breathe. Then again, I suppose you could be an incredibly poorly-coded ELIZA-style spambot randomly spewing homophobic paranoid idiocy without any actual capacity to think or read for comprehension.

  • LonesomeDove

    And here I thought “A Diamond Is Forever”…as prescribed by DeBeers 1:1

  • Taylor

    For starters, I am absolutely for marriage equality.
    But as far as the passage goes concerning the rapist marrying the victim: as crazy as it sounds by our current systems, this actually was meant to show compassion to the victim. If it was publicly known that the woman had been raped then she would no longer be considered ideal or fit for marriage (yes, that’s messed up too. ) but this law was to ensure that the woman was ultimately taken care of and not left to be an old lonely maid. The same logic goes for the widow of your brother: our of respect, you would vow to make sure she was taken care of. Times were different back then.

    • cary_w

      You are correct, but it really wasn’t that long ago in some cases. In early Mormon days it was common and encouraged for brothers to marry the widows of their deceased brothers. That exact thing happened to some of my husband’s ancestors in the1850′s, and it is proudly written about in a book about his families history. The surviving brother is a hero for taking such good care of his brothers widows!

    • UWIR

      I don’t see how anyone can read Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and see it as forcing a rape victim to marry her rapist. That seems like outright lying to me.

  • Katelyn Jecmen

    besides all this, would someone please tell me where I can find Gods copyright on the word “marriage” cus last I checked that was an english word and the hebrew one that the original bible was written in had a different word, and more over I fail to understand how non christian people are still required to live by christian laws and practices

  • Stonebreaker

    Actually, the bible is very clear on gay sex. See Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. Doesn’t say anything about lesbians though…

    • Spuddie

      Actually it is clear on homosexual rape, not consensual homosexual relationships. But then again Leviticus is much clearer about idolatry and adultery are punishable by horrific public death.

      • Anna

        Hasn’t it got something to do with pagan temple rituals?

        I sometimes hear people arguing that the prohibition is concerned with gay sex in temples. Sounds a little dodgy to me, but I always want to ask them what’s wrong with having sex as part of a religious ritual.

    • Feminerd

      This is true. It’s also very clear on shellfish, pork, mixing fibers, wearing the other gender’s clothing, and many other nitpicky little laws Christians don’t follow anymore. All in the same section of Leviticus.

      Why follow this law and not the other ones? It couldn’t just be justification for pre-existing homophobia, could it? Eating bacon-wrapped shrimp is an abomination unto the Lord too, you know. I eagerly await your fervid attempts to enshrine anti-pig and anti-crustacean laws as the laws of the land.

    • Matt D

      If anything in those book was clear, there wouldn’t be hundreds of sects divided over it’s meaning.
      And it’s pretty obvious that the same people who treat faith and religion like a salad bar, also relish the opportunity to play a diety, by reciting rules they can claim are holy.

  • Matt D

    I don’t think any religious authors were ever prepared for a society more educated then they were.

  • Avec

    Paul says sin, Leviticus goes with abomination. Lets not imagine that just because Paul and Jesus wanted people not to marry that somehow the bible doesn’t promote hatred of homosexuals.

  • jammy

    Well how about Leviticus 18:22? Or Romans 1:26-27? The BIBLE is clear that homosexuality is a sin in God’s sight! The Bible is what we Christians follow, not some man made Bible commentary! Jesus saves!

  • Mack

    People have misinterpreted the bible throughout the years and the bible warns of false prophets in passages such as 1 Timothy 4 or 2 Peter 2. The reason I’m posting this is because the bible does promote marriage between one man and one woman. Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Now if anyone saved or unsaved is familiar with the story about the Creation. God created man first and then He created woman and He married them Himself. He gave them a command in Genesis 1:28 about being fruitful and to multiply. That had two meanings (1) to have children and (2) to multiply the prescence of God (spreading the Word). Now look back at that verse I posted (Genesis 2:24), the word is “wife” not wives which this incident occured way before the law or people like David existed. I know that there are people that support gay marriage. Question: can a homosexual couple reproduce a child through sex? No! Why is that? Because God did not design “us” to do that so since a homosexual couple can never make children, then that’s the “physical evidence” that God isn’t for same-sex marriage. The bible does speak against homosexuality. Example: Romans 1:26-27, “(26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Now I urge all to read Romans 1:24-32 and it clearly teaches against homosexuality. Those two verses I post from that passage describe men and women leaving something natural (heterosexuality) for something against nature (homosexuality). Now I want to add that homosexuality, like all other sin is forgivable by God. Sin is all equally offensive to God. My point we are all sinners which is why Jesus died on the cross, for our sins, but in order to receive salvation, we must believe in Christ with all our hearts and souls. Now God is not the author of confusion, but the devil is, and he wants nothing to do than to mock and counterfeit God which is why God kicked him out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-23). So now satan is influencing the world (some knowingly & some unknowingly) to promote gay marriage which actually mocks God. So I pray that the Lord Jesus has mercy on all who support gay marriage! I pray that Jesus teaches me how to better love all people. Now as for Ezra 10:2-11 who posted the blog is misinterpreting that passage. That verse does not speak against interracial marriage, but against marriage with unbelievers. As a nation, God called Israel to be His people. In Ezra 10:2-11 some of the Israelites married heathen (or unsaved women). Although at first glance it seems like a racial passage, it’s actually about spiritual beliefs (saved not marrying unsaved). My point for that is Joseph, an Israelite, married Asenath who was not an Israelite. Why did God allow this marriage? Because they both believed in God. Joseph existed before the incident occured in Ezra 10:2-11. The reason why God didn’t want people practicing polygamy or marrying heathen people (unbelievers) because it would cause problems in their lives. God may have tolerated people like David or Solomon having more than one wife, but he never condoned it. Matter of fact, both David & Solomon ran into problems for living that way. David had a man killed to have his wife, and God punished him for that. Solomon had multiple wives (unbelievers mostly) & he fell into apostasy by worshipping their false gods (aka devil & his demons) and was rebuked by God for that. So any preacher claiming that its ok to have more than one wife is going against God & His Word & may not be a Christian! So those bible scholars preaching that polygamy is biblical are lying about God’s Word & may indeed be false prophets. God have mercy on them for spreading lies! As for slavery, people misinterpret scripture, the bible teaches how a person should treat slaves if they have any. The bible never preaches that a person should own slaves. Note: the bible was written by men of God as instructed by God, so to be short, God told them what to write. So a person must be a believer of Jesus in order to understand His Word in the first place. Some bible verse are literal. some figurative, but all of it is spiritual. I could go on, like about how through the Noahic covenant, God used that to establish human goverment & other things (Genesis 9:9-17). So although the bible is an ancient text, it’s God’s Word who is eternal, so the Word is always relevant, even today. I hope that Camille Beredjick reads this message and send me an email because I’d like to teach her about the bible because I do have knowledge of the Word like a pastor, but I’m not one. I’m not trying to make converts here, I just don’t like scripture being misinterpreted. God bless!

  • low

    So the part in scripture about God annihilating Sodom and Gamora because of their widespread acceptance of homosexuality must not carry any weight according to the writer of this article. We are definitely correct in claiming the bible doesn’t say anything against homosexuality if we ignore everything the bible says against homosexuality. Good one guys, great argument.

  • Patch

    If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

    So, here is the Bible’s (and God’s) endorsement of killing people caught in infidelity as just. Or, just another way of how picking single verses out of the Bible without reading context can give drastically different conclusions. And, to continue with your reference in 1 Corinthians…

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NLT)

    So, if you could make the argument that those in the LGBT community that are married or have to be considered partners can do so without participating in sexual interactions, then I will accept that I don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Also, in the case of Jonathan and David, it would serve well to return to the original Hebrew text to see their platonic relationship (Hebrew word used for their love is a friend to friend love).

    Now, before I’m labeled as an LGBT community hater, I thoroughly believe that it is unconstitutional for people of the LGBT to NOT be married. They have every right to do so. I am all for allowing them (in a constitutional right way) to be married. Now, that being said, as a member of the Christian community, I am thoroughly against it. It is defined as a sin in the Bible, but I do not hate members of LGBT because my sins are viewed as the same magnitude in God’s eyes.

  • MelissaG

    To twist the Word of God to use for your agenda is the oldest trick of Satan there is. In the garden of Eden, Satan did the very thing that you are doing with this article. I am not condeming you or those you are supporting with your words, that’s between you/them and God, but don’t twist the Word of God that is a worse offense than anything you are writing about.

    Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals theLord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen 3:1

    Yes God really did say not to eat of any tree from the garden.

    If you do not respect the laws of God, you should at least respect the laws of nature. No species can reproduce/survive without a male and a female. ( unless they are asexual of course)

    Again, I am not condeming you, but I ask you to at least be responsible in quoting the Word of God. Did you know that after a period of time God did change the laws of marriage (one husband one wife) and many of the old testament scriptures of marriage were symbolic of the coming bridegroom (Christ) for his bride ( the church) The bride price of the old testament is symbolic of the price that Jesus paid on the cross.

    The racial scripture that you quoted above is in reference to believers (God’s people) marrying non believers. I ask you to read the written word before using it as a tool.
    David did love Johnathan, as I too love my best friend. David was very much heterosexual read about Bethsheba. There were very imperfect people all in the Bible, but God used them to show even the most sinful people can be redeemed and reconciled to him.

    God bless you.

  • Victor Vilela

    So you say that in Mathew 19:12 Jesus encourages eunuchs? he says that there eunuchs in existence, either being born that way or castrated by others. and there are some who act like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, perhaps because they are addicts and need to stop. that’s it. he doesn’t say “castrate yourselves”. better read before blog-posting

  • servantheart

    Again, your comments are so out of line with context, it’s laughable. This does prove that YOUR religion and politics don’t mix.