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.

Neo-Pagan

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?