Can’t Have the Name

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” I was in the minority but I enjoyed reading Shakespeare my sophomore year in high school. I enjoyed the clever language and innuendo; I enjoyed deciphering the not-so-obvious. The line above is from “Romeo and Juliet”; enchanted lovers whose last names made them enemies. Romeo was a Montague; Juliet was a Capulet—their two families had been feuding for years. Juliet was convincing herself, however, that what matters is what something is, not what something is called. Romeo just had the wrong last name: “What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name!”

Names may not matter but words do. They have meaning. Here is the meaning for the word marriage: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Only two chapters into creation and God created and defined marriage. Marriage, therefore, is the union between one man and one woman in a lifelong covenant as husband and wife.

Gay marriage” therefore is an oxymoron—there is no such thing. It’s impossible for two men to get married; it’s impossible for two women to get married. They can’t because for it to be such; marriage has to be between a man and a woman.

Pastor and author John Piper blogged not long ago: “I don’t think we should use the term ‘gay marriage’ or ‘same-sex marriage.’ I think in our everyday discourse, we should say ‘so-called gay marriage’ or ‘so-called same sex marriage.’ I would encourage politicians, pastors, and people to adopt this simple habit.” (Desiring God blog, “Thoughts on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment”) I’m going to take Piper’s advice.

Abortionists didn’t like the meaning or connotation of their name so they started calling themselves “pro-choice.” Calling themselves by a different name didn’t change, however, who they are: killers of babies—that’s what the word abortion means. Homosexuals did the same thing a few years back when they wanted to be known as “gay”; they are so aggressive now and thriving in an age of post-modern relativism some of them are even resurrecting what was once a derogatory slur—calling themselves “queer.” But the word marriage cannot be recreated, redefined, or confiscated. Man doesn’t have the right or the authority. It was defined by God. It is His word and His meaning.

Fools march to win the right to justify their sin. They will continue to do so. The sixth state in our union just recognized and now practices “gay marriage”—strike that, I mean “so-called gay marriage.”

A rose would smell as sweet even if it was called a dandelion. I grant Juliet’s argument. But sin reeks in the nostrils of God regardless what we call it. They may say “O, be some other name”; but the union between two men or two women will always be nothing more than sodomy and fornication.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
July 14, 2011



  1. Great blog. Isaiah 5:20 -” Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” God condemns moral corruption.

  2. I totally agree with Jim’s comment. I read this verse last year in this context and it shifted my heart to firmer ground. Thank you for the blog.

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