The President’s Goal to Codify
the Legal Definition of Marriage
in Biblical Terms

Biblical Marriage
and the Law

The remarks of Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) as they appear in the congressional Record for February 25, 2004, regarding President Bush’s attempts to define marriage:

Mr. Speaker, the President’s presidential prayer team is urging us to “pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles.”

With that in mind, we thought we should remind the congressional body of the specific biblical principles that Bush and McDermott are talking about:

  1. Marriage shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Genesis 29:17–28)
  2. Marriage will not impede the man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Samuel 5:13; II Chronicles 11:21)
  3. A marriage shall be considered valid if and only if the bride was a virgin at the time of the marriage ceremony. If the wife is later found to have been a non-virgin, she must be put to death. (Deuteronomy 22:13)
  4. Marriage of a believer and a nonbeliever is strictly forbidden. (Genesis 24:3)
  5. If a married man dies and leaves no children, his brother (married or not) must marry the widow (his own sister-in-law). He must then impregnate her so that she might bring up children in the dead brother’s name. (Genesis 38:6–10; Deuteronomy 25:5–10)
         The punishment for the man’s refusal to comply includes allowing the woman to spit in his face and allowing her to remove his shoe from his foot. This would force him to change his name to “The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.” (Deuteronomy 25)
         Another possible punishment is death by an “act of God.” (Genesis 38)
  6. If a man is caught forcing a virgin woman to have intercourse with him, this is not to be punished as rape; instead, the punishment requires him to marry his victim with no possibility of divorce. She is given no say in this matter. Neither may "wiggle" out of this particular requirement, now or ever. (Deuteronomy 22:28)