The Bible’s Definition of Marriage(s)

Berlin Sylvestre, Staff Writer

Marriage equality naysayers are slinging some pretty weird stuff our way in an attempt to sway public opinion on the matter — and potentially the Supreme Court’s decision, due any day now.

Since we’re playing the Bible game, maybe we should examine what else the text has to say about it. Here are a few passages we grabbed from the New American Standard Bible, just to keep it homegrown:

Deuteronomy 22:28 – “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin that is not betrothed and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found, then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife.” (In other words, if a guy sleeps with a virgin, he’s got to pay her dad some dowry and marry the lady! I wonder if the government should make sure the bride-to-be checks out a virgin … if we’re playin’ by Biblical rules, I mean. But what if she isn’t a virgin?)

Deuteronomy 22:20 – “But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel, then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death.” (Holy … cow. If a man’s betrothed isn’t a virgin, you yank her outta Dad’s house and let a gang of dudes throw rocks at her until she’s dead! Bible, you scary!)

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 – “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married unto a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her.” (Right. So if your sister’s husband died, you’d better be ready to man up with your sister-in-law. Sucks when that happens! And it happens all the time, right? Because we’re playing by the rules, right?)

2 Samuel 12:8 – “I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!”  (Wives? As in … more than one? Is this a traditional marriage?)

Ezra 10:2 – “And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, ‘We have trespassed against our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land: yet now there is hope for Israel concerning this thing.'” (D’oh! That speaks directly to interracial couples. That passage was used on the constant in Loving v. Virgina, the supreme court case involving a white man fighting for the right to stay legally married to his African-American wife. Are we going to undo those rights?)

Mark 10:11-12 – “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” (So if you divorce your wife and marry another, you’re committing adultery? That’s a big one — it’s even in the Top 10! Good thing we have folks like Rush Limbaugh, currently on wife number four, letting Congress and the American people know that gays are in moral dissension.)

These are just a few that pertain to marriage, but are curiously left out of the “one man/one woman!” conversation.

How about some other strange things in The Good Book that most of us (Christian and otherwise) are guilty of?

1 Corinthians 14:34 – “Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” (Ouch!)

Exodus 31:14-15 – “Six days may work be done but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (I know a seven-day workweek is killer, but there’s really no need to execute someone for it. Or is there? We don’t make the rules.)

Leviticus 19:27 – “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” (I’m sorry, what?)

And yes, some of these are from the Old Testament.


Picking and choosing isn’t just for the things you aren’t Biblically guilty of doing.

So it’s fair to say that the arguments against gay marriage are … unfair. They leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the holiness of millions of Americans’ marriages and create a double standard that LGBT citizens are expected to live by.

Let’s just remember that we’re in the land of the free, whether it means the freedom to follow religious doctrine … or deciding that your life is free of religious doctrine.