Bonus Essay 3: An American Pastor’s Struggle with the Legality of Marriage

I have been avoiding writing this essay. I’ve been struggling with my answer to this question. God has pestered me through enough people though that I’m finally doing it. I’ve intentionally not read any other essays yet – not only to reduce the urge to compare mine – but because I suspect I have nothing new to say and reading others before writing mine would have given me another excuse not to write it in the first place.

So let’s dive in: I am a staunch supporter of the separation of church and state. Since I came to know what this means and how our country doesn’t have it, I have believed in it. Not even the realization that many people think that separation does exist in our country could dissuade me.

Now, I am not one for patriotism or discussions of how great America is, but I do believe in the freedom this country was founded on. Laws, government, or politics that support one faith or religion over others is not okay with me. God should not be mentioned on our money or in our public schools. The Ten Commandments (although handy pieces of scripture that I find super cool) have no place outside state offices. While I might believe that we are one nation (people) under (with) God, there is no reason that others have to believe that or recite it.

With that being said then, why should the church care about marriage? Why should I as a church leader be an involved and vocal supporter of making same-sex marriage legal? Because I have the freedom and calling to do so. Because while the government has no place passing mandates that exist for only religious reasons, I have the freedom and responsibility to say that I support same-sex marriage as a person, as an American and as a church leader.

Let me be clear: no church or faith group or temple or synagogue or mosque or spiritual gathering has to support same-sex marriage. Marriages do not have to take place in their places of gathering. I DO believe that same-sex marriage MUST be made legal however. The only arguments I’ve heard against it are religious at their core. And if the only reason it is not legal on the federal level is because of religion that is wrong. And as a faith leader, I have a calling to stand against wrongs.

The church should care about the legalization of same-sex marriage because people are being denied a basic human right. We (the church) worship a God that cares for and serves all people equally and live in a legal system that doesn’t. I would hope that any faith group, regardless of personal feelings on the subject, would support the legalization of same-sex marriage but perhaps that is too much to hope for at this time.

My church cares about this topic because we are Queer. We are being denied our rights. We are hurting and affected by this struggle. We are on the Fringe wondering when our time will come. We worship a God that creates all gender identities and expressions, all sexual orientations. We are called to stand with our LGBTQ sisters and brothers.

The church should care about marriage because the church should care about people. The legalization of same-sex marriage and the blessing of a union by a faith group are two different things. Setting aside the fact that I celebrate same-sex marriage and believe in a God that blesses them; this question at its core is a justice issue. The church should care about marriage because the church is in the business of loving people and righting wrongs.

Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?