I worry about the caricature that those who support same-gender marriage have thrown out the Bible, or that we do not consider the Bible to be authoritative in our lives. We know that the Bible’s witness to the marital relationship is not so clear-cut; it looks much different than what we recognize as marriage in our culture today. The book is full of polygamy, and in one case of hyper-polygamy, as one king of Israel had a thousand wives and concubines. Arranged marriages happened at wells. A man had sex with his wife’s slave so that she might conceive an heir for him. Kings married for political alliances. God commanded a prophet to marry a sex worker. David loved Jonathan “more than any woman.”
Women were so reliant on a husband’s income and land ownership to survive that when a husband died, she was to marry his brother. Very few of the relationships in Scripture describe a relationship between one man and one woman in the sense that we imagine.
So now, as we come to this struggle for equality, we must depend on the Scriptures, not as a textbook to describe the exact formula for marriage, but in those instructions on how to love. How can we act in God’s image? How can we make sure that love flourishes? How can our lives and the body of Christ be strengthened in this time of division? When there is question, when there is doubt, when there is a fracturing in the body, we must rely on love as our guiding principle.