What Does the Bible Say About Gay Marriage? These Verses Prove There Isn’t One Answer
If you're looking for a short answer as to whether the Christian Bible addresses marriage equality, which is now legal in all 50 states after the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, then the short answer is: No.
Nowhere in the Bible does it mention gay marriage.
However, those looking for at least some indication of what the Bible might have to say about two people in love tying the knot can find hints and clues throughout the Good Book — if they look hard enough.
A few verses pop up again and again when people talk about homosexuality, the most famous of which is Leviticus 18:22.
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
While that verse seems to put its foot rather firmly in the "nay" column when it comes to gay relationships, the reality contains far more nuance.
First, the Bible contains several positive depictions of same-sex relationships that may serve as a model for LGBTQ people.
In the Old Testament, Ruth and Naomi move in together after all the men in their family die. They share a love that is considered much more important than either of their marriages to men. They even share one of the Bible's most loving exchanges, Ruth 1:16-17, often repeated at (straight) weddings.
But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you."
And then there's King David and Jonathan, who "became one spirit." 1 Samuel 18:1 says Jonathan loved King David as he loved himself. The two besties later swear a covenant that would last between their descendants — which sounds very much like a wedding vow.
When discussing homosexuality in the Bible, few look at these examples and instead look at Mosaic Law, which states that a man who slept with another man to be acting against his nature. Mosaic Law is pretty much against femininity in general — the law has several rules about how unclean a woman's period is — so a man acting like a woman was a big no-no.
However, the reality may be different than what you're used to hearing.
In On Faith, Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson writes that Mosaic Law — law handed down to Moses' people — was about deviating from the normal way of life. In that sense, even a woman's period was considered abnormal since a woman spends more time not menstruating than menstruating.
Robinson wrote that people in ancient times believed that a man's sperm contained everything necessary to create life, and that a woman was just a sort of incubator. So, any semen not used to create more Israelites (who were desperately in need of more people) might contribute to the extinction of the race.
While it's important to break down Mosaic Law and what it means, even more important is the reality that, according to the Bible, Mosaic Law was over with the coming of Jesus Christ, which the apostle Paul writes in several blunt ways throughout his letters.
Like Romans 6:14:
For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
or Romans 7:6:
But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.
Some other examples of Paul saying that Mosaic Law is basically kaput? Romans 8:3 and Galatians 3:12 also put any notion of following the law to bed.
According to Robinson, homosexuality as an orientation was not thought to be real until the late 18th century. Because people in Biblical times believed that everyone was heterosexual, all homosexuality would be considered against nature. However, Robinson infers, if someone's nature is same-sex attraction, then it would not be against nature to act on it.
Overall, one thing is clear for Christians — faith in Christ replaced adherence to Mosaic Law. And for those who are Christians, Jesus gave one Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.