Adam Gallucio has two daddies. Or, to be more accurate, Adam has one parent he calls “Daddy” and one he calls “Father.” A week before Christmas, the State of New Jersey agreed to allow Jon Holden and Michael Gallucio to adopt 2-year-old Adam. This decision makes New Jersey the first state to allow gay and lesbian couples the privilege of joint adoption.

Holden and Gallucio had already been serving as Adam’s foster parents. When they tried to adopt the boy a year ago their request was denied. New Jersey previously refused to allow any unmarried couples—whether homosexual or heterosexual—to adopt children who were wards of the state.

After the two men initiated legal proceedings against the state, New Jersey changed its policy. When asked why they didn’t just adopt Adam individually, as other gay couples have done, the proud new parents said, “This is a family… that would be unacceptable.”

What is a family? Gay parenthood creates unprecedented social and ethical dilemmas. What does a pre-school teacher say when a gay couple asks her to endorse their application for adoption? Should you attend the service if your lesbian sister invites you to her son’s baptism? Members of Tenth Church have received these and other unusual requests.

The New Jersey policy says something about the changing status of homosexual couples in contemporary society. The gay and lesbian agenda is to get Americans to treat homosexuality as normal, and marriage is one of the last bastions of normalcy in America.

The Gallucios are trying to give homosexuality greater credibility. What could be more normal than two men getting married and starting a family? A lawyer from the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund hails the New Jersey decision as “a statewide recognition that lesbians and gay men make fit and loving parents and that gay couples should be treated equally with straight couples.”

To their credit, Holden and Gallucio seem to have been motivated by compassion. When Adam came to them as a 3-month old foster child, he was suffering from liver, lung and heart damage because his biological mother was a drug addict. They have undertaken this adoption because they believe it to be in the best interests of the child.

Whether having two daddies is in Adam’s long term interests is debatable. There is the question of stability. The reason New Jersey has refused to grant adoptions to unmarried couples in the past is because families without vows tend to fall apart. Then there are the confusing questions Adam will undoubtedly face about his own identity, sexually and otherwise.

But I am less interested in what the Gallucio adoption says about homosexuality than in what it says about marriage in general. What is marriage?

We live at a time when marriage is being redefined. Some people refuse to live within its bonds at all. Others define it to meet their own designs. Marriage is a personal lifestyle choice, they say. It is any two people who love each other. They are afraid of making the mistake of a lifetime, so they write their own marriage vows, promising to be devoted to one another “as long as we both shall love.”

That is not how God defines marriage, and he ought to have the right to define it because he invented it. God is the one who saw that it was not good for man to be alone. God is the one who made a suitable helper and brought her to the man. God is the one who said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). God is the one who defined marriage as one man and one woman united in a love covenant for life.

To define marriage any other way is to abuse it. In testimony given before the Maryland state legislature in March of 1997, Robert Knight said,

Giving same-sex relationships or out-of-wedlock heterosexual couples the same special status and benefits as the marital bond would not be the expansion of a right, but the destruction of a principle. One can no more expand the definition of marriage than one can expand the definition of a yardstick and still use it as a reliable measure [in At the Podium, 3/12/97, p. 3].

America is fast becoming a nation where you can make a yardstick any length you like. When asked if it would be difficult for Adam to be raised by gay men, his new father responded that since only thirty percent of children are now being raised in a home with a father and a mother, “he’s going to be in the majority.”

If that statistic is accurate then this an important time to be a Christian. The more confused our society gets about marriage, the more vital Christian marriages will become. Instead of just going with the flow, we have a chance to be counter-cultural. Uniting as one man and one woman to raise a covenant family may become the most radical of all lifestyles. If people want to know what a marriage is supposed to look like, and how a family is supposed to operate, the only place they will be able to go is to the church.

We should take this as a reminder to honor the institution of marriage. If you are not married, encourage those who are. Keep yourself sexually pure so you will not undermine your own or someone else’s future marriage.

If you are married, maintain the vows you have made before God and the church. Renew your commitment to love your spouse. Keep your promise to stay married until death. Remember that marriage means one man and one woman united in a love covenant for life, in case everyone else in the world forgets.

[Details about Adam Holden Gallucio come from December articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Phil Ryken. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org