In a few weeks voters in six states will decide on state constitutional amendments that will bar same-sex marriage and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples. Most mainline denominations have come out against the amendments even though some of them do not allow same-sex couples to wed in their churches. Most evangelicals and Catholics support the amendments.
Both sides would do well to consider Jesus’ teaching—not on marriage, but on divorce. In the Markan passage, the Pharisees were seeking to trap Jesus when they asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” The setup reminds us of other situations in which people tried to trap Jesus—on occasions when they demanded signs, inquired about taxes or debated resurrection.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).