Marriage and the Constitution


At the Cherokee County Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 5, Pastor J. Eddis Dockery read and entered into the meeting record “A Pastoral Proclamation for God’s Biblical Standard for Marriage.” The complete text of this proclamation appears at the end of this article.

Anyone who has read the United States Constitution knows that the word “marriage” does not appear in that document. It is not listed in Article I, Section 8 (“the enumerated powers”) as a responsibility of the Congress, nor does it appear among the duties, obligations, or authorities delegated to either the executive or the judicial branches of the federal government.

The reason for the “omission” is simple. In 1789, government was generally not involved in marriage in any way. When George and Martha Washington got married, they did not go to the Commonwealth of Virginia and request permission. They went to their church where, surrounded by family and friends, they were joined in matrimony by their pastor. Some states at that time did have rules and laws concerning the cohabitation of individuals, and others required marriages to be registered with the state government. Cohabitation was also recognized as a legal marriage in most states and was the basis for what we call “common law” marriage.

For most of human history, marriage was a financial arrangement between families, and, whenever the government got involved, it was to serve some agenda of those making the laws and/or profiting from the activity. Shamefully, the major push for state issuance of marriage licenses in the late 18th century was to prevent racial intermarriage. Now, marriage licenses were a great source of revenue for the government and, for that reason, this requirement is likely to remain in force.

The real question is why should anyone need a license to marry? A “license” is a document giving us permission from the government to participate in some type of activity. When we are born, we get a “Birth Certificate” announcing our arrival and giving us proof of the event. If a “Birth License” were required, it would presumably have to be obtained prior to conception to be valid.

At this point in history, the major reason for a couple to have a government-issued marriage license and government-sanctioned “marriage” is for the legal rights given to the spouse.

It is unfortunate that the institution of marriage has become a political issue. Once an emotional issue is politicized, rational discussion ceases and logical solutions cannot be achieved.

The solution is simple. North Carolina governments at all levels should get out of the marriage and marriage license business – no more county marriage licenses, no more county or state laws about marriage, no more civil marriage ceremonies, etc. Take all the laws, rules, and regulations concerning “marriage” and remove the word “marriage” and replace it with “civil union.” All those legal rights, ranks, and privileges formerly related to “marriage” would still be available but only as a “civil union”. The state and local governments could no longer “marry” anyone. They could, however, “civilly unite” any people wanting that legal protection just as people can enter into various legal contracts.

Folks with a properly executed “civil union” agreement who wanted to be “married” according to God’s biblical standard for marriage could make private arrangements to do so at a religious institution by mutual agreement.

A Pastoral Proclamation for God’s Biblical Standard for Marriage

It is with deep biblical conviction that we affix our names to this proclamation regarding the need for a strong stand for traditional biblical marriage in Cherokee County, North Carolina. We believe it is necessary for our churches, communities, and country to know that we believe biblical marriage to be the bedrock of a strong and vibrant society. It is also our purpose to teach our children and our children’s children the important of God’s design for marriage.

Whereas; God’s word is clear, definitive, and unchanging. We affirm the biblical, traditional, and natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment. We affirm that God’s design for marriage is nonnegotiable. We affirm by this proclamation that we stand upon the word of God and the living testimony of Jesus Christ.

Whereas; we stand upon the biblical design for marriage as recorded in Genesis, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Jesus reaffirmed this as He taught, “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh (Mark 10:6 – 9). This design is for the procreation of the human race.

Whereas; we will stand with those in the corporate world, in the marketplace, in education, in entertainment, in media and elsewhere with our prayers, influence, and resources to protect this sacred institution.

Whereas; we do not accept, nor adhered to, any redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize any marriage or be a part of any marriage ceremony, except it be a traditional biblical marriage.

Therefore; it is our conviction that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, with the only remedy for sin being Jesus Christ, who gives to any who will receive him eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of His hand. We will continue to reach out in love and truth to those who struggle with any and all sin. We will continue to depend on God’s grace, mercy, and salvation alone for help in this great endeavor. We cannot in good conscience take the easy road of political correctness; therefore, we stand against the attacks upon biblical marriage. This damning sin has resulted in societies being destroyed by God, such as the flood. It is our heartfelt prayer that those who do not know Him will accept Him who offers a peace that passes all understanding.