We are women age 26 and age 27. In many ways, our generation will be the last one to grow up in a United States knowing marriage legally as only a man/woman union. What will we tell our children about marriage as we knew it?
Here are five things we’ll have to tell our future children about the 2015 marriage decision.
- Every generation has a battle to fight.
Our generation found itself in the middle of a dispute over the definition of the millennia-old institution of marriage. Arguments were heard on both sides. Debates were held on college campuses and media positioned opponents on panels to discuss the issue. But as the debate continued, those who didn’t like the time-tested view of marriage began their efforts to cut the conversation short.
Before we knew it, a fire chief and a 70-year-old grandmother were being threatened because of their faith convictions. They and others lost their jobs and their businesses. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court forced all 50 states to recognize same-sex unions as marriages, undermining the marriage policies affirmed by over 50 million voters in 31 states. We knew from history that when people of faith were forced to deny their deeply held beliefs, this was not progress, it was coercion. So we realized we were going to have to fight for the freedom to democratically address one of the most pressing social issues of our time.
- Defend truth when it’s unpopular.
The hecklers reminded us how unpopular it was for us single, young Christian women to stand in front of the Supreme Court to defend and protect marriage.
When the Supreme Court mandated more than 40 years ago that every state legalize the killing of unborn children, pro-life advocates did not abandon the debate. The opposite happened. They refocused and passionately lobbied congressional offices, informed the masses, and counseled expectant mothers on abortion clinic sidewalks–all this after pro-lifers supposedly “lost.” Now, America’s youth are reportedly more pro-life than ever before, and abortion rates have dropped in every state.
- Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
We knew that when the grown-ups finished redefining marriage in our laws, children like ours would be the ones to ultimately lose out—because they would be growing up in a society that no longer affirms the right of every child to know and be raised by both their mother and father.
Future children like ours deserve someone to say that all the love in the world can’t turn a mom into a dad or a dad into a mom. Marriage ensures the well-being of children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and any children they create.
- Show love even if you receive hate in return.
We stood in the face of hostility, because we loved that much. We truly loved those struggling with same-sex attraction enough to take the harassment and verbal assaults that came with speaking up. Our future children may face similar assaults but are still to show love in the face of hate.
- Small groups of people can change history.
History teaches us that a small numbers can ignite change for good because of their willingness to confront the trends of popular culture. Every generation needs their Esthers, Susan B. Anthonys, Sojourner Truths, Rosa Parks, and Nellie Grays who will speak the truth in love no matter the consequences and no matter how “outnumbered” they may appear.
So when the day comes, Lord willing, and our children ask us, “What did you do when that big marriage case happened?,” with all sincerity we will reply, “We did what we could. We spoke the truth in love. The battle may have been lost, but the war is not over.”
This article is co-written by Alison Howard, Director of Alliance Relations at Alliance Defending Freedom, and Chelsen Vicarim the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy.