DOMA Revisited

“U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones ruled Wednesday that DOMA’s efforts to define marriage ‘intrude upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations.’ Jones explained that DOMA fails because it tries to re-examine states’ decisions concerning same-sex marriage, Reuters reported.” (from

“Early Christians in the first through third century understood marriage to be a union between one man and one woman created by God as a consummated partnership described in Genesis 2. Early Christian leaders, such as the Apostle Paul, explained that marriage was more than just a union between two people. It was an act of worship that pointed to Christ’s sacrificial relationship with the church (Ephesians 5). Therefore, marriage was not about a contract or a financial engagement as had been the custom for centuries prior, but a sacred union that should reflect God’s love. Christ turned the accepted cultural norms about marriage on its head.” (from

In the Fourth Century after Constantine legalized Christianity, the state got involved by being the repository of marriage records. The keeping of marriage records and the jurisdiction to authorize marriage are two entirely different things. This record keeping function of the civil government grew greatly following the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century. And under and following Henry XVIII in England church and state were unnecessarily and unjustifiably conflated, with the church being subsumed under civil control. This whole scenario was a horrific error and no standards or precedents should be found or lodged there.

European state churches instituted civil marriage in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. And the United States left the issue of marriage to the individual states. Marriage was not nationally codified in the United States until 1996 through the Defense of Marriage Act.

Judge Jones has turned history on it’s head. How? From an historical perspective marriage began and has mostly and rightly remained in the jurisdiction of the church(es). It is a human institution that was instituted by God, not by the civil government. Consequently, one of the (hopefully) unintentional consequences of DOMA was the formal or legal attempt to transfer marriage jurisdiction from the church(es) to the state, to the federal government. Under DOMA, the federal government defined marriage, where previously it only had jurisdiction for marriage record keeping. Obviously, the state has exceeded that jurisdiction over the centuries. Though there were many compelling reasons for DOMA, it was a horrific error because it was actually an attempt to transfer marriage jurisdiction from the church(es) to the state. The power that defines is the power that regulates.

Thus, DOMA is unconstitutional—but not for the reasons given by Judge Jones. It is unconstitutional because the passing of DOMA has conflated the jurisdiction of church and state, which all parties argue should not happen. However, Judge Jones has now argued that the primary jurisdiction for marriage belongs to the state rather than the church(es), and DOMA from that perspective DOMA represents an intrusion into the jurisdiction of the state by the church(es). In a sense, she is right but again, for the wrong reason. She claims that DOMA is an intrusion into the jurisdiction of state by the church, where it was actually an attempt by the state to assume a jurisdiction of the church(es), though it was introduced, funded and promoted by active Evangelicals, none of whom were church representatives! It was an attempt to surrender the marriage jurisdiction of the church(es) to the state by the power and authority of the state. It used the power of the state through voting.

However, the state does not have the right, power or authority to transfer marriage jurisdiction from the church(es) to the state, even if the church(es) want to abandon it. So, DOMA is unconstitutional and should be struck down, and the attempt to transfer marriage jurisdiction from the church(es) to the state should be repudiated.

The whole issue of marriage has gotten so undeniably confused by the attempt to include homosexuals, that the whole things needs to be rethought, reset, reconsidered, renewed, etc. Sin always results in confusion.

Leave a Reply