Gay Marriage Isn’t a Religious Institution? Tell It to These Churches

gaymarriage_1Over the weekend, a meeting of 700 Episcopalians at a Reston, Virginia, Hyatt hotel agreed that the diocese needed to take steps toward including gay and lesbian relationships into church doctrine, resolving that relationships ought to be “characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.” Translation: The diocese is considering allowing gay and lesbian marriages.

One of the major arguments of anti-marriage equality folks is that it would force religious institutions to marry gays and lesbians. Well, guess what? Many already do. Meet the chapels, churches, synagogues and temples where your love is as good as the next person’s.

412px-crest_dnwAnglican Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia

As Queerty readers already know, the Epsicopal/Anglican community is constantly trying to figure out where it stands on gay marriage and unions. In 2002, in response to conservative bishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America, the church broke off ties with the Vancouver diocese, which had announced it would bless same-sex unions.

Why you want to marry British Columbian Anglican: Well, Vancouver, of course. It’s just like Seattle, only prettier, less rainy and everyone’s an uptalker.

Australian, British and New Zealand Quakers

george_foxOfficially known as the Religious Society of Friends, the church (well, loose association of people with similar goals and precepts) has been at the forefront of integrating gays and lesbian life into their worship. A 1963 book, Towards a Quaker View of Sex set out the view that love is independent of gender and while American Quakers are split on the issue, members in Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand overwhelmingly support gay marriage.

Why you want to marry Quaker: If the constant struggle to maintain a fabulous image is too much for you, the Quaker focus on “plainness” in dress and speech is the way to go. When you’re friends ask why you’re not wearing this season’s de rigeur accessory, you can shout, “Because I’m a Quaker, bitch.” Well, actually, you probably can’t.

European Lutherans

600px-lutherroseLutherans in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway all allow some form of same-sex union or marriage, with the Evangelical Church in Germany leading the way with a resolution called Verantwortung und Verlässlichkeit stärken (Strengthening Responsibility and Reliability). This stands in marked contrast to the American branch of the church, which considers homosexuality to be a sin, blah, blah, blah.

Why you want to marry Lutheran: If you or your partner are tall, fair-haired and/or have a love of Nina Hagen, a Nordic wedding may be just the thing for you.

Metropolitan Community Church

top_logoThe Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches has been marrying gays and lesbians since 1969 and while it would be sort of a generalization to call the MCC “the gay church,” it wouldn’t be that far off to say so. The church leadership follows the historic creeds of the church and requires parishes to celebrate communion once a week, but beyond that, priests are given a wide degree of latitude in how they choose to administer their faith.

The Reverend Brent Hawkes and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto deserve the lion’s share of the credit for bringing gay marriage to Canada and the church is involved in many social justice issues besides those effecting LGBT people, especially on issues of poverty.

Why you want to marry MCC: If you’re looking for a more welcoming church for gays and lesbians in America, you won’t find it.

United Church of Canada

376px-united_church_of_canada1Since 2003, the church has affirmed that “human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation” and while it leaves the decision of whether to marry gays and lesbians can marry up to individual pastors, the United Church of Canada is widely accepting of homosexuality. The Church itself is uniquely Canadian, born out on the frontier as Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregational Unionists unified when they found themselves without the resources to have a church for each denomination in every settlement.

Why you want to marry United Church of Canada: You’re Canadian and/or an Alice Monroe character (her novels are filled with them).

United Church of Christ

united_church_of_christ_logoA mainline Protestant Christian denomination based mainly in the U.S. A 2005 resolution urged UCC congregations to advocate for civil marriage equality and encourages individual congregations to allow gay marriage. Unfortunately, this was the last straw for the Puerto Rican diocese and they bolted from the fold a year later. Of course, you know the UCC as President Obama’s church, which, you know, is a reminder that before he ran for the highest office in the land, he said he was fully in support of gay marriage.

Why you want to marry UCC: To be closer to God– and to Barry Obama.

Union for Reform Judaism

urj_logoIn 1990 the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s resolved that “all Jews are religiously equal regardless of their sexual orientation”, opening the door for gay marriage. Six years later, the council made it evebn more clear by saying they “support the right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage” and in ’99 they brought gay marriage to the temple by declaring “that the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual.”

Why you want to marry Reform Judaism: Eight days of presents. People will no longer look at you funny when they catching you reading the latest issue of Heeb on the subway.

Unitarian Universalist

500px-flaming_chalicesvgHistorically Christian, the Unitarian Universalist’s have expanded to accept peoples from virtually all faiths and backgrounds, including gays and lesbians. The Rev. Jonalu Johnstone explains his faith by saying:

“In Unitarian Universalist congregations, we gather in community to support our individual spiritual journeys. We trust that openness to one another’s experiences will enhance our understanding of our own links with the divine, with our history, and with one another.”

Which may sound really vague, but that’s just how the Unitarians like it.

Why you want to marry Unitarian Universalist: You may or may not believe in God and/or think a lot of the Bible is bunk, but still want to live a spiritual life with like-minded people.


paganaveburyA polytheist, animist loosely bound faith that included elements of witchcraft, folk tradition and personal spirituality, Neo-Pagans are often unfairly maligned as not being a religion at all. A City University of New York survey found that there are approximately 307,000 Neo-Pagans living in the U.S. right now. While there’s no central authority by design, almost all neo-pagans allow marriage ceremonies for gays and lesbians.

Why you want to marry Neo-Pagan: You believe in the Goddess and/or watched a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Would you ever join a faith simply because it allows gay marriage? Do these groups disprove the notion that gay and lesbian marriage infringes on religious freedom?

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  • tavdy79

    One minor addition:

    In the 2005 Civil Partnership Act, the British government placed a ban on performing CP ceremonies in religious buildings. The ban is the only significant procedural difference between CPs and civil marriage, and doesn’t ban purely religious ceremonies from taking place. Nevertheless some Unitarian congregations and Quaker local meetings feel that this is in breach of the principle of equality central to their faith, and have responded by placing indefinite moratoriums on all wedding ceremonies, both straight and gay, until the ban is rescinded.

  • anyankafan

    Actually if u watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer u’d be a lot less inclined to be neo-pagan :P they end up lookin like boobs ;)

  • anyankafan

    Actually if u watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer u’d be a lot less inclined to be neo-pagan :P they end up lookin like boobs when theyre shown ;)

  • rabu69

    On the German Evangelical Church, it’s important to know that in Germany “Evangelical” simply means “Protestant.” It should not confused or equated with American “Evangelical” churches, which are the heirs of old time American “Fundamentalism.” The German Evangelical Church is a union of German Lutherans and Calvinists (“Reformed”), put together in old Prussia at the behest of the king. Its closest counterpart in the USA is the United Church of Christ, a union of the German Reformed, German Evangelical and Congregational churches in the US dating back to the 1960s.

  • Bill Perdue

    It’s heartening to hear that a small minority of christer superstitious cults no longer want us burned at the stake. They’re finally ready to admit that for the moment, and in spite of redeemably sinful natures, that we can be treated like humans and not demonspawn. Until the next interpreter of ‘faith’ changes their minds again.

    The problem with these cults is that they’re based on ancient superstitious fantasies and they can’t be trusted to be rational forever. Some German protestant churches were ‘liberal’ and flirted with Magnus-Hirschfield’s Scientific Humanitarian Committee and his Congress for Sexual Freedom but later voted to accept NAZI control of their churches because it was the popular thing to do there and nothing in their compendiums of prehistoric fantasies (bibles) contradicted it. The NAZI’s went committed mass murder against gay men throughout Europe.

    Groups based on ancient Mesopotamian fairy takes and superstitions are fickle at best.

  • kevin

    Sweden’s Lutheran Church may be influential in getting the largest mainline Lutheran denomination in the US to come aroung on LGBT issues when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American issues in it’s “Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality and Report on Rostering Recommendations” on February 19, 2009. As you may know, most of the European Lutheran congregations fully support same-sex marriage and the inclusion of LGBTs in worship.

    While the ELCA has been very gay-affirming when it comes to membership, it still lags on committing to same-sex marriage and allowing openly gay (and sexual) ministers. Right now, it allows straight men and women who are in committed relationships to serve as pastors, but gay men and women must be chaste. That’s been a sore spot for several years amongst progressive churches within the ELCA and some have been excommunicated in the past for blessing same-sex unions. The church I sometimes attend in San Francisco is currently a member of the ELCA and its pastor is currently blessing same-sex marriages, although I’m not sure in what capacity. The church also has many LGBT congregants, both single and married (who have been married in the church).

    Currently, there are many Lutheran congregations who belong to the Reconciling in Christ fellowship. According to their website: “The RIC Program seeks to make clearer the policy of churches where all people are welcome as full members, regardless of their sexual orientation, their gender identity or that of their children, siblings or friends.”

    It is my hope that the ELCA will follow closely behind the Anglicans/Episcopalians and may even become the first mainline denomination to sanction full inclusion….but we will just have to wait until February to see.

  • kevin


    Not all Christians in Germany stood by and allowed the Holocaust to happen without a fight.

    Many Lutherans, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were sent to concentration camps and executed because the resisted the Nazis.

    Like fundamentalists of any stripe, people like you who want to see the world and the people in it in black and white spectrums only spread fear and hate against something you refuse to understand.

  • AMPisAnglican

    For those “churches” performing same sex blessings (or whatever you want to call it), is that in order to be a “Church” it MUST obey God, including God the Son, that being Jesus, and what He taught. Regarding marriage, Jesus taught that it is an act of God in which God joins a man to his wife. Thus a true “Church” cannot, and must not, condone same sex blessings.

    I know this will upset and anger many of you. But it must be noted that Christianity was never a “come as you are” religion. It has always been a challenging Faith, one which has always said “come and be changed into something better in the eyes of God.”

  • Jenny

    What’s the name of the writer of this article?

  • petted

    @Bill Perdue: Dude all human organizations are inherently fickle because they are subject to time and change. And I imagine people we’re a lot less willing to be seen going against the Nazis once the intellectual and political purges started in 1933 in which members of parliament, all trade union leaders, writers, and clergy whom the Nazis considered a threat were put in interment camps. In point of fact the Nazi’s raided the Hirschfield Institute in 1933 and burned their books and research. There were certainly those who supported the Nazis early on but there were also others who did not – I suggest you read about the White Rose group whose leaders were beheaded in 1943.

    History is messy, don’t truncate it.

  • Ron

    AMP, are you the “gatekeeper” of what is acceptable religion and what is not? Of what is a “true Church” and what is not? Of who is a Christian and who is not? Just checking.

  • petted

    @kevin: I think you may have expressed what I wanted to more succinctly. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who found his characterization a little off the mark.

  • petted

    @AMPisAnglican: Oh ‘mighty’ pharacie pray tell us is pizza truly not kosher?

  • Bill Perdue

    @kevin: And for the petted one.

    Not all Christians in Germany stood by and allowed the Holocaust to happen without a fight. No, just the huge majority of them. I know all about Bonheoffer, Niemöller and the half dozen or so catholic priests and nuns who opposed the Nazis. I salute them. But I’m right and you’re dead wrong about their influence. They were an infinitesimal part of the superstitious ‘community’. The vast majority of German christer clerics, like the current pope, Ratzinger, were Nazis or supported the Nazis wholeheartedly. That’s hardly surprising considering that for centuries they infested European cultures and pushed their bigoted propaganda against GLBT folks, Jews and others. That’s why no one was shocked when the christer clerics grabbed their pitch forks and torches and merrily watched as Jews and others were scooped up for the ‘final solution’.

    Like fundamentalists of any stripe, people like you who want to see the world and the people in it in black and white spectrums only spread fear and hate against something you refuse to understand. There’s no middle ground here. If you’re a christer or an islamist you’re simply not trustworthy and always a potential enemy. Attempts to equate opposition to superstition with fundamentalism are silly. While the fact that a small minority of christers tolerate us that tolerance stands on the quicksand of superstition and ignorance, aka, religion. They can rapidly return to the days of the auto de fé, the death camps or lynchings.

    petted one, “Dude all human organizations are inherently fickle because they are subject to time and change. There are no excuses for collaboration with fascism. None at all. I’m surprised that anyone defends collaborators. And thanks for confirming my assertion that they can change back to the bad old days just as easily as they adapted to postwar criticism of Nazism and the tide of modern secularism. Anything for a buck.

  • AMPisAnglican

    Hello Ron,

    Not sure what you mean by “gatekeeper” but the term does sound medieval.

    As far as defining what is “acceptable religion” or what is a “true Church” or who is a Christian goes, I think that is something that each individual person does for themselves.

    FYI, since the 4th century, and to our present day, Christians regularly recite the Nicene Creed, and have this Creed as a “definition” of what we believe. The Nicene Creed includes a statement of believing in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. I would hope that you would agree that in order to be a Christian a person must believe that Jesus is Devine. If Jesus says go left, but you choose to go right, than are you truly a Christian? If Jesus says feed the hungry even on the Sabbath, but you choose not to, than are you truly a Christian? If Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your strength, and all your mind”, but you choose instead to love yourself more, than are you truly a Christian? If Jesus says “a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife”, but you choose as a man to be joined to another man, than are you truly Christian?

    It is one thing to claim to be Christian. It is something a great deal more demanding to actually be a Christian. Just something for you to think about.

  • Kevin

    AMP is coming from the perspective of an “infallible-literalist” interpretation of the bible, whereas most mainline denominations approach the bible from a “definite errors-metaphorical” approach. The former makes up the majority of the fundamentalist/evangelical community, while the latter represents the majority of the mainline traditions.

    These two approaches are very difficult to reconcile.

    But one side cannot say the other is “unChristian”. They may have different beliefs, but they are all within a framework of a Christian vocabulary.

    According to Marcus Borg, a Christian is a person who lives out their relationship with God in the framework of the Christian tradition; who uses the Christian language system as a vehicle in living out their relationshiop with God. At the center of the Christian life is a relationship with God as known through Jesus Christ.

  • Timothy

    Good article.

    It might also be mentioned that while the United Methodists do not allow for same-sex marriage, both the Northern and Southern California conventions officially opposed Proposition 8.

    In the gay community we tend to see Christianity as the enemy and see only the negatives. And with the Evangelical Athiests that love to go on gay blogs to push their religion, much maligning of people of faith can be found.

    However, in many counties in California last summer and fall, the majority of folks working against Proposition 8 were straight folks whose churches teach social justice. It was through their Christian faith that they felt called to defend the civil equalities of their gay neighbors.

  • Timothy

    Kevin and Petted,

    You’re wasting your time. It is impossible to argue points of faith with those who are fundamentalist and evangelical in their thinking, be they Penticostal or Atheist.

    They work from a realm of faith and make declarations about the unprovable (“God created all things in seven days” or “There are no gods”). And those who disagree are, by their definition, idiots and heretics.

  • Kevin

    Conversely, Timothy, it also may be a waste of their time. I find it refreshing and invigorating to tell people things they don’t want to hear, like the fact that LGBT Christians are some of the most faithful of God’s children.

  • Troy

    Yay for other religions!

  • Matt

    AMPisAnglican, when did Jesus ever say “A man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife”? Jesus himself never married, and neither did most of the disciples. Paul was single as well, and he said that he wished all men were as he was (I Corinthians 7:7). It isn’t being married but being single that is held up in the New Testament as the ideal for believers.

  • anyankafan

    The man shall leave his father and mother etc is in genesis or leviticus i can’t remember which. i got bored the other night and read parts of the old testament and that was one of them :P

  • Gary Ballis

    So many xtians wouldn’t know Jesus if he were to kick them in the ass.

    I’m an atheist, but I have a sentimental attachment to the Episcopal Church–Indeed, I’m a bigot–if ECUSA were the only religion I might have remained in the flock.

    But just look around at all the hate and idiocy of religion. I had to give it up as a good example to all.

  • Matt

    Anyankafan, it’s in Genesis. It’s right there in the Old Testament, along with several passages about marriages involving one man and many women, as well as the ceremony and vow between David and Jonathan. Incidentally, that vow was renewed at least once that I recall, and maybe twice. When Jonathan died, David spoke a famous verse in which he told Jonathan, “Your love for me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.”

    If you read the whole account, you realize that this same-sex relationship is presented as moving and heroic rather than sinful. Saul strongly opposes it at first, but it turns out that Saul is wrong. It’s scattered over I and II Samuel, if I recall correctly. A lot of antigay Christians get really defensive if you suggest that David and Jonathan were married, but that certainly seems to be the idea.

  • vernonvanderbilt

    As always, the Satanists were left out. They’ve accepted the homos from day one, long before it was “fashionable.”

  • Rowen

    I’m not sure I want to take bible theory from someone who is unfamiliar with simple English phrases. And spelling. Although, I am highly amused at the prospect of recognizing that Jesus is (Loretta) Devine.

  • Lex

    I can’t be sure, but I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster might be cool with gays.

  • tavdy79

    AMPisAnglican, I think it’s safe to assume that you believe that it is impossible for any human to know and comprehend the mind of God, correct? This is a foundational principle of Christianity – that God is so much greater, vaster, and more glorious than humanity that He cannot ever be fully known by us. To claim to be able to do so is to claim personal divinity.

    I think it is also safe to assume that you recognise that others have a different interpretation of the Bible from you. You may consider the method of interpretation involved (specifically, considering the text in light of the historical-sociocultural context in which it was written) to be erroneous, but nevertheless you have to recognise that the interpretation does exist.

    So could you please explain why it is that you claim to have personal, full and incontrovertible comprehension and knowledge of what was in the mind of God when He imparted divine inspiration regarding human sexuality to certain writers of the Bible between 3000 and 1800 years ago, when by your own admission it is impossible to understand the mind of God, and when there is clearly more than one possible interpretation for the passages concerned?

    It seems to me there are two alternatives here: either you do understand the mind of God, in which case you are right, or you do not understand the mind of God, in which case you could be right – but equally you could be wrong. Of course I do not expect you to admit you could be wrong however this would require you to practice humility, and I am quietly confident that your own pride is more than sufficient to prevent that ever happening.

    I do not assume that I’m right in what I believe; in fact I assume I’m wrong, I just don’t know exactly where I’m wrong so I rely on the Law of Grace to make up the difference. However you don’t admit that your understanding of what amounts to sin could be wrong, so you spend your time and energy obsessing over lists of regulations, fretting over transgressions, and . That is not freedom – you are still bound to the Law of Sin, you still drag it around with you like a ball and chain. Is there some extensive list of “thou shalt nots”? Possibly – but it’s not my place to worry about it: that’s Christ’s job, that’s what the cross was about.

    Though I cannot be certain (I would never claim divinity) I do suspect and believe that God is far more interested in a person’s willingness to be obedient than their ability to follow a set of prescribed laws.

  • AMPisAnglican

    Hello Matt. (#21)
    You ask a valid question. I refer you to Matthew 19:1-12.

    Hello TAVDY79
    It seems to me that you are seeing a lot more than what I wrote. I would ask that you refrain from putting words into my mouth, words that I did not speak.
    What I do have is the Holy Bible, which it is my belief is entirely the Word of God. As an Anglican, I also have the 39 Articles of Religion. Article VI may be of particular interest in this discussion.
    You may have a different belief about what the Bible is. But please understand, that when it comes to what my Church is going to do, and not do, I will insist that it obey the Word of God, no matter how difficult or politically incorrect that may be. This is how it must be in all things, not just marriage.

    Hello Matt (#24)
    Your reference to a relationship between David and Jonathan is curious. A quick perusal of 1 and 2 Samuel did not reveal anything that could be considered a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan. What I did find was 1 Samuel 20:42, and 2 Samuel 1:26. In both of these passages the relationship is specifically described as brotherly, not matrimonial and certainly not sexual. If you are aware of something in the Bible that describes the relationship in any other manner than please direct me to chapter and verse so that I may consider it. (Please do not interpret this as being “defensive” as it is my intention to discover God’s truth, whatever that truth may be.)
    There is no disputing that the Bible tells of many “relationships” including incest. Here it is important to remember that much of the Bible is a recording of history, both the good and bad. So just because something is recorded as having happened does not mean that it is good. It simply means that it happened, and that God has determined that there is something important about it that we should be aware of and understand.

  • Julians

    Jesus never said anything about gay-bashing, Muhammad never mentioned about a jihad against gays and lesbians, Buddha certainly never had anything against same-gender relationships . . .

    I think the problem here is not the religion itself, but the WORSHIPPERS who never want to think twice about what their religion actually teaches them to behave as . . .

  • happathetic

    What about the Presbyterians. It is of big concern that the Presbytery voted that homosexuals should be part of the church, and they are not supportive of prop 8. The minister of the Sacramento congregation even married a couple outside of the Sanctuary. At this point they are trying to figure out how to deal with homosexual marriages. I am also friends with a pastor at a Presbyterian church in northern California, who is openly gay and has a life partner. I hope that people will not assume that your list of churches the condone and support homosexuals.
    It’s ok, but someone needs to do their homework if they really want to promote gay churches.

  • James

    Nice to see that some like a dose of reason with their irrationality.

Comments are closed.