Gay Marriage Gets to the Church (In Time)

As the phenomenal progress for same-sex marriage in our politics keeps up its momentum, a big lag factor — mainline churches — slowly make their way toward change.

DETROIT (AP): The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted by large margins Thursday to recognize same-sex marriage as Christian in the church constitution, adding language that marriage can be the union of ‘two people,’ not just ‘a man and a woman.’ …

Of the mainline Protestant denominations, only the United Church of Christ supports gay marriage outright. The Episcopal Church has approved a prayer service for blessing same-sex unions. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has eliminated barriers for gay clergy but allows regional and local church officials to decide their own policies on ordination and blessings for same-sex couples.

Lesbian wedding threatens to break up heterosexual marriage.The largest mainline group, the United Methodist Church, with about 7.8 million U.S. members, bars ordaining people in same-sex relationships. However, church members have been debating whether to split over their different views of the Bible and marriage. Gay marriage supporters have been recruiting clergy to openly officiate at same-sex ceremonies in protest of church policy.”

43 thoughts on “Gay Marriage Gets to the Church (In Time)

  1. ELCA lost a hefty number of congregations over it’s statement on human sexuality. The remaining congregations are moving toward full acceptance of gay clergy and same sex marriage.
    Sadly the only thing that moves more slowly than the machinery of government is the machinery of the church.

  2. My marriage isn’t threatened by anyone else’s marriage -- same or mixed sex, and the only thing about “traditional” marriage threatened by such unions (gay or straight) is that “modern” unions are between one from column A and one from column B instead of the traditional one man and several women.

  3. Pogo,

    Just been watching the Tudors. It appears that Henry the VIII was the original threat to traditional marriage. If traditional marriage could survive him, I think that it has little to fear from same sex marriages.

  4. It is amazing how rapidly public attitudes have changed on this issue.

    Even among the “holdout” groups (ie Catholics & Southern Baptists) what the clergy say and what their followers say is different.

    Acceptance is growing, even if the official position is anti-gay marriage.

    I think it’s all because of “Will and Grace.”

    (I still like watching the re-runs.)

  5. Nash,

    As is so often the case, the public is far ahead of the leadership. Be it in government or the church.

  6. “mainline churches — slowly make their way toward change”
    tell that to women in the catholic, morman and other patriarchal mainline churches as well as in temples and mosques. slowly? how ’bout inert.

    rights generally speaking, that is, not just marriage rites.

  7. from religioustolerance.org

    “The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.” Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2009-DEC.

  8. I too applaud the Presbyterians.

    patd,

    I agree with the spirit of your comment. But remember “rights” are a function of government. And since Craig is talking about American churches, there is that little constitutional thing about separation of church and state.

    We talk all the time here about others not shoving their religion down our throats…. the reverse applies also.

  9. get ready, get out those iced cold goodies, those slices of melon, those soothing mists and fans….

    summertime arrives tomorrow at 6:51 a.m. EDT

  10. RebelliousRenee: that little constitutional thing about separation of church and state

    agree with you there.
    that also buttresses the argument of having the government establish rights of union and all the privileges and protections thereto but acknowledge churches the rites of marriage as they individually define them.

  11. For all those who want to defend ‘traditional’ marriage: according to the Bible, that would be polygamy.

  12. I’m not sure how to link an article here anymore, but The Wire has a great article from March, about the Methodist minister in Dallas who performed a ceremony for two, men in their 80s who have been together for more than half a century.
    The quote from the minister about ecluding an entire group of people when we’re called to engaging people to become disciples of Christ.

  13. jace,

    Jace, yes, Henry introduced the concept of annulment at the direction of himself as head of the church into the Anglican church if my feeble memory of history is correct. Of course it wasn’t so much traditional marriage that was threatened by Henry, moreso, his spouses (3 anyway) were.

  14. pogo and jace, per your 1:27 and 12:08, that’s what I call losing one’s head over weddings

  15. Craig.Crawford,

    Yes… I fixed it. Thanks for the suggestion. And I did not ask Rick for help… I figured out how to do it by looking it up in my Mountain Lion for Dummies book….. ok…. you all can laugh at that now.

  16. I will be walking my youngest daughter down the aisle on the 29th of this month, in what will be a very traditional ceremony.

    She is the traditionalist in our family. She is rather insistent that even the smallest family traditions be upheld. A bit of an enforcer in that regard.

    I am quite certain that neither she nor her fiance, a bit of a traditionalist in his own right, feel the least bit threatened by same sex marriages.

  17. Pogo,

    I think that Henry had an aversion to divorce attorneys. They took too long, and cost too much. He was a man in a hurry. He needed a quicker solution.

  18. jace,

    In that regard, he may be smarter than the average bear. :-)
    Oh, and best of luck to your daughter. Warn her to stay away from the likes of me. Nothing much has changed since Henry stopped taking a quicker path to the next wife.

  19. patd,

    Yes, that was the article.
    I’m sure the link button probably works. Craig, it’s been awhile.

  20. Traditional wedding:

    I once attended a wedding reception where the main course (I am not making this up) was beans and franks. (The bride’s father only had seasonal construction employment and he had three more unmarried younger daughters to worry about.) At least I got a china plate. The people behind me in line got stuck with paper plates.

    *****

    Non-traditional wedding:

    Ceremony performed at Big Sur, California on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Wind was blowing about 40 mph. Guy performing the ceremony was the bride’s therapist, who also did “new age” weddings, part-time. Instead of throwing grains of rice, which we were told was dangerous to birds who ate them, we threw sunflower seeds. Have you ever been hit in the eye by a sunflower seed going 40mph? (I miss the 1970s.)

  21. XR is fortunate in having University Baptist Church in his neck of the woods--a church on the forefront of human issues.

  22. The Anglican Communion goes from one schism to another over ordination of women to marriage of same sex couples, to gay priests, to women bishops, to you folks smell funny,

    Down here in SC they’ve split into two separate Episcopal branches suing one another over who owns the pews.

    Arch Stupidity

  23. Flatus:
    The Anglican Communion goes from one schism to another over ordination of women to marriage of same sex couples, to gay priests, to women bishops, to you folks smell funny,

    Down here in SC they’ve split into two separate Episcopal branches suing one another over who owns the pews.

    Arch Stupidity

    Amen to that.

  24. Flatus,

    I am not acquainted with the University Baptist Church, however, there are two Baptist churches within a block of my house. I don’t know their sexual preferences, either.

  25. Traditional marriage was first smirched by the roman emperor caligula, who was also a heterosexual. I believe henry viii was number two (in soooo many ways).

  26. Didn’t henry viii have his divorce lawyers head removed in a traditional English ceremony, presided over by a bishop ?

    I seem to recall . . . .

  27. The ebook idea is a good one.

    In fact, several ebooks could be woven from threads we’ve unrolled along this Trail.

    Of course, we’d have to remain hidden behind our monikers. . . .

  28. those Presbyterians now they are divesting themselves of Israeli investments

  29. jace: I will be walking my youngest daughter down the aisle on the 29th of this month, in what will be a very traditional ceremony.

    Jace, I had that honor with Sue on this weekend in 1987. I have absolutely no doubt that you will do your daughter proud!

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