Okay I am reviving a LONG dead post. I appologize if I am breaking rules here - but it is a good thread that is definitly in the lime light today so here goes.
First, I agree that literal translations of the bible is not viable. I have a tough time defending against a literal translationist. So I will not here. I will argue in the 'spirit' of the bible - so as not to get into syntax arguments.
From the Christian point of view the new testament (the new covenant - as spoken about many times) is a NEW covenant and any wages of death in the older laws have been paid for. As Paul says many times (new testament) that the wages of sin are death - and of course the belief in Jesus is the only way to pay for this sin. If you take the Baptist strong standpoint - once you believe those wages are paid for.
CI Quoted Romans 1-25 / 26 of which I will requote here "For this reason (exchanging God for a 'lie' as refered to in 1:25) God gave them up to vile passions. For the women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of women, burned in thier lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of thier error." (WEB transaltion)
Not here that Paul does not say "Let's go stone the Romans to death" - or that we should "exact the penalty upon the romans" he says that they have recieved in themselves the penalty. This is the moving from the old testament concept of stregthening the monotheism (in the face of the henothesitic baalism - which God addresses his people rather than the individual - mostly) to the spiritual stregthening of the individual. (The covenant has changed - it was originally one with Abraham and his people - and now it is individual between God and the person).
So, when Paul mentions this he is saying that (in my humble exegesis) the Romans of the time are putting thier earthly lusts before thier natural loves. This is why he mentions in Romans 1:32 that they not only partake i these sins (and he has a longer list in 1:29) but the revel in others who do the same. This should be seen here that the Romans love 'wickedness' for its sake.
This type of talk is the talk that lead Augustine to say that the root of all sin is pride. The pride that humans can list thier lusts in a way that is not natural and prescribed by God. The Roman's in Pauls mind were putting thier lusts before God. They were 'reprobate' (a techinical term used by the Stoics and used here by Paul to mean that they wanted things not natural and were lost to thier unnatural lusting.
So as stated above - this is one of the sins, in a long list - that is only 'evil' because it puts something before God. This punishment is cleared by the new blood covenant of the 'son of man'.
However, this does not answer CI's further comment that God cannot 'change his mind' yet you see him repeatedly changing his mind. This is where I must become a pluralist and state that there are different messeges for different people at different times.
The message for the Mosaics was one that encouraged them to band together and be strong in thier monotheism. Abrahm was only chosen because he believed in one God (al shedai) and God revealed himself to Abrahm and essentially said you believe in this God of the mountain alone - yeah - that is me now lets work out a deal.
In later years the blood pact was not how you made deals in the days of the Romans. But God, realizing that the Jews would not understand anything but a blood pact, sent Jesus to fulfil this new blood covenant. It was symbolic to the non-jews (commonly referred to as the Gentiles) which is why this covenant is symbolically completed every time the eucharist is taken - I say symbolically bt should note that I have excluded the catholic notion of transubstantiation).
Thus God does not 'change his mind' per se - he updates and clarifies his message depending on the audience.
Frank Aspia also made mention on God and the fuit of the tree of knowledge. The popular christian concept is take this to mean that Adam and Eve were not finite creatures but infinite. However, once they ate of the fruit - they became mortals. This is why Paul repeatedly said that the wages of sin are death. Yet, eternal life can be granted (through forgiveness). The serpent, being cunning and realizing this neuance, argued that they could eat and not die - so they did. The serpent told the truth and God told the truth - the neuance was not seen by Adam or Eve.
I also disagree that Frank Aspia said that Lab Rat was ignoring the old testament rules - those rules are still in effect - just the ramifications of these rules are different. One could lead to temporal and spiritual death the other leads to simply spiritual death.
There is one more distinction that I want to make. When this shift occurs from temporal and spiritual to just spiritual (it must because Christianity is expanding far beyond just the Jews) Jesus says that man's laws are different that God's laws. One should heed both bu they must not be confused.
This is why Jesus says in Mat 22:21 "render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser's and render unto God what is God's"
So we do not stone homosexuals (or any other sinner to death) because of the edict from God (those sins will see thier punishment in spiritual terms) yet we execute murderers in Texas (USA) because that is Ceaser's (Man's) law. These should not be confused.
That is why my answer to the notion of Gay marriage is that man can make whatever law he pleases, the church should be able to make thier own, and God will hold binding the spiritual portion of these. So the law of marriage in the constitution is silly - as if man's laws have anything to do with spirituality. This is one man's attempt to gain popularity with his conservative base by envoking God.
So, in essence I agree with Frank here (after all of this) if you are going to make laws against marriage - why stop with homosexual marriage - why not ban short hair for women in America or head coverings for women (like Paul prescribes - because he fears them being raped by Angels). Let it go - leave it alone, and render unto Ceaser what is his. God will get his portion.