2012 California Marriage Protection Act: WWJD*?

Though Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality, he was very opinionated about divorce:

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18)

That’s strong and clear. Not much wiggle-room there.

So, would Jesus support a proposed ballot measure that would outlaw divorce in California? Such a measure may appear on the June 2012 ballot if its author, John Marcotte, can gather 700,000 signatures supporting it. The so-called 2012 Marriage Protection Act would ban divorce but not annulments, which could still be granted in cases of bigamy, fraud, or incest.

Our WWJD question cannot be answered, of course. Though Jesus disapproved of divorce, he never shared his views about constitutional democracy or the complex issues involved in rights legislation, ballot initiatives, church-state separation, and so on. (As the son of the Omnscient One, however, he could probably have known about such matters…)

What we do know is that in 2008 California voters approved Proposition 8, which overturned an earlier judicial legalization of same-sex marriage and wrote into the state’s constitution a new provision that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The Proposition 8 campaign received generous financial support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Christian organizations (e.g., the American Family Association and Focus on the Family), and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

The rationale behind these organizations’ support was that Proposition 8 would protect the institution of marriage by reserving it for heterosexuals. Considering Jesus’ strong views about divorce, can we expect these same organizations to throw their weight behind the 2012 California Marriage Protection Act? The act will obviously fortify the institution of marriage, so isn’t this a no-brainer?

Marcotte’s ballot measure got the green light from California’s secretary of state over a week ago, and the signature-gathering process has begun. So far, not a single one of the groups that supported Proposition 8 has taken a position on this measure. If we don’t hear from them soon, I think we’ll want to know why they’re not behind this in a big way.

*WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?

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