Important Notice: WonderCafe has Closed

The United Church has sadly come to the decision that WonderCafe needed to close and all new discussion ended June 2014. Read More...

agnostic's picture

agnostic

image

Should churches be required to perform gay marriage?

Hi everyone, I am interested in people's thoughts as to whether churches should be required to perform gay marriages?

Although I am very pro-gay marriage, my initial thought on the issue was that if a church chose not to, that choice should be respected. However, the more I think about it, the more I wonder how this is justifiable? If the law (and in my opinion, common sense) recognized gays and lesbians as fully equal people, should churches, who I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) are granted power by the government to perform marriages that are legally binding (not to mention given tax-exempt status courtesy of the taxpayer - including gays), should they be entitled to discriminate? What if they decided they didn't agree with racially-mixed marriage? Don't agree that women are equals (yes, I know this brings up the whole priest thing ...!)

I guess it's a larger question really ... where a church's belief is at odds with human rights, who wins? Seems to me, the church should be on the hook to respect equality, just like business and other institutions are.

Again, please correct me if I some of my facts are off; looking forward to hearing people's thoughts.

Share this

Comments

RussP's picture

RussP

image

I do not believe the church should be "required" to perform SGM (Same Gender Marriages. I, too, am on the yes side, but can you imagine anyone telling the Roman Catholic church they have to perform SGM. As far as they are concerned, the entire topic is something that was settled before the dark ages and the answer was no then, and is still no. After all, 'tis better to spread AIDS than use a condom!

The United Chucrh is for it and has left the actual solemnization (whew!) up to each individual church. We are going through those discusions right now and I expect the vote to go yes.

Long road to the short answer, but, there are many different churches as each has a slightly different slant on G*d, the Bible, etc. I personally think if you want the Minister to perform SGM, get one that is comfortable doing so. If you are against it, find a different flavour congregation.

MCTRUTH's picture

MCTRUTH

image

Churches should not be be required to perform gay marriages!! If there are denominations out there who choose to do so, so be it. How can you force a church to go against moral convictions?

Let's stop equating gay marriages with racially mixed marriages. One is a sin and the other isn't. If the government decides that it is okay to steal if you are in need for example, does the church then teach its members who are in need to steal?

Governments do not have the final say on issues of morality. As christians we are called to a higher standard.

mchlndrwrchr's picture

mchlndrwrchr

image

I agree that the answer is no. Each church may choose to do what it likes and in fact can already deny marriages between races, religions, or individuals on any number of other grounds.

Religious Freedoms allow this. If I were to start a registered religion where all members of the congregation had to walk naked through a shower of "holy water" on the way into the church and then restricted the membership to only those who are overweight, over 30 and have experience in theatre, I could do that. It makes no sense, but as a religion I could do that. Trust me, I know that it's a bad idea to suggest such things, I was doing so as an example.

Just as homosexuality is seen as a sin, inter-racial marriages or inter-religion marriages can be disallowed on the grounds that it is bad for the church.

MariaTeresa's picture

MariaTeresa

image

Hello!
I have friends in same gender relationships, and they tend to agree, why other then for shock value would you want to be married by someone that doesn't want you to be united in marriage?

The Christian church is not the only way to be married and therefore I don't think they should be forced to. These couples can go to a justice of the peace and be united in marriage or find a church that will marry them.

I find forcing a church to marry a same gendered couple infringes on their rights.

Alberto's picture

Alberto

image

Marriage is a legal contract function of the state of which churches can be licensed to perform this registration. This question is just silly mischief perpetuating ignorance and homophobia. In our civilized society, nobody can be forced to let you use the bathroom or give you a plate of food. Any religious denomination can and does decide who it will allow to participate in a marriage ceremony in its confines. Just try to get married in a Catholic Church if you are divorced. So they cannot and will not be required to do it. Every church from time immemorial has turned away people from participation in its rituals. A church wedding has two parts : the churchy part and the filling out the forms part by an approved agent.

You can complete a marriage license at municipal offices and even Ralph Klein can marry you on your patio. Churches are just sub-contractors.

Janet's picture

Janet

image

ABSOLUTELY NOT! As far as I know Canada is still a free country.

mchlndrwrchr's picture

mchlndrwrchr

image

I think that the true reality of the situation is this:

Religion coined the term "marriage". When societies adopted a form of government, allowances were made for those married by the church. Then, it was observed that there are those who do not agree with the church's teachings, yet would still enjoy the benefits and commitments of marriage. This is how the government became involved in marriage. They borrowed the word coined by the church to use in a religion-free environment. Since then, the word marriage as it applies to the government has evolved to include same-sex couples too. But, this is just the marriage of the government. Religious marriage has evolved some too, in different ways and the same. Churches have always had their rules governing their marriages. The government has their rules too. The only reason that forms are filled out in a church wedding is because the government requires proof of marriage to make it legally binding. Neither a church nor a public servant is a subcontractor for marriage. They each offer competing versions of the same product.

agnostic's picture

agnostic

image

Wow, that's a lot of response - not surprising I guess for such a hot topic.

Just one comment to Alberto - this question was definitely *not* intended to perpetrate homophobia or create mischief or cause any trouble whatsoever. As I mentioned, my inclination was to say that churches should not be forced ... but when I tried to rationalize this inclination, I came up short, hence the post. I appreciate the fact that I now have a lot of food for thought on the issue.

I do agree with the comment that probably not many gay couples would want to be married in a church that needed to be forced to marry them! It's probably not the most practical question in the world ... but I still struggle with the fact that many churches positions seem at odds with human rights ... and yet it seems that they are considered "untouchable" on these issues simply because they are a church.

Anyways, just wanted to clarify the intention of the post.

Myopinion's picture

Myopinion

image

Absolutely not. To me the meaning of gay is happy and will remain as such. Do what you want in bed but keep it to yourself like the rest of us do. We do not have marches demonstrating the missionary position, who are you to march about sex. Marriage is between a man and a woman for the purpose of keeping our race alive. and make a family home for children.Marriage is not based on sex alone.

mchlndrwrchr's picture

mchlndrwrchr

image

Myopinion, nobody forces you to go to a Gay Pride Parade. Nobody forces you to sit in a homosexual person's bedroom to learn how they do things there. Nobody forces you to watch homosexual pornography films. I admit that the media occasionally throws these things in without warning, but homosexuality is becoming an accepted lifestyle and you're almost as likely to bump into homosexuals in the mall as you are to see them kissing on TV.

Next, if you feel that your marriage means less now that the word marriage is shared with same-sex couples, then you have a warped sense of what makes your marriage special. Even if a church chooses to perform these unions, your relationship with your wife (I'm sorry, I assume that you are male and have a wife?) still means what it meant the day you got married.

Churches have no obligation now and should never have an obligation to perform these unions. But, same-sex couples are at least as commited to each other as are opposite-sex couples. They choose to devote their lives to each other. The have the same hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. Even I, as a homosexual, want to raise children.

One concept that hasn't been suggested (as far as I know) is having two types of "union". One, you go to a church and your union is called a marriage. The other, you go to an authorized public servant, you sign some papers and your union is called a Civil Union. This means that ALL people who are united in a non-religious ceremony are in a civil union. That means Male/Female, M/M and F/F couples could all be under the same umbrella. Then, with a marriage, the church can decide who to allow to be united. They may still choose to allow homosexuals, but they wouldn't have to. This is different from the earlier suggestions (in public, not this forum) where same-sex couples are given a Civil Union, and opposite-sex couples get marriage.

I think that about covers what I wanted to say.

silvurphlame's picture

silvurphlame

image

There is a big difference bwteen legalizing something and making it compulsory. I do not think that anyone is in favour of forcing churches to marry couples of the same gender any more than people are in favour of forcing synangogues to perform Catholic mass. Each civil marriage office (a branch of the government) should be forced to perform gay marriages, yes, but the government should not be able to dictate to religion any more than a religion should be allowed to make public policy (ie. not at all).

However, if churches feel that they would like to perform homosexual marriages, then I think absolutely they should be allowed to and have those marriages recognized by law in the same manner as a heterosexual one.

agnostic's picture

agnostic

image

Thanks to Silverphlame; your response helped me a lot - very reasonable and made perfect sense. Also, I think you got to the heart of what I was trying to think through - more of a "church/state" issue than a "gay marriage" issue (which I don't think I articulated very well!).

mchlndrwrchr's picture

mchlndrwrchr

image

D_Bo,

Your thought of following the European method sounds fantastic except that it still leads to the same problem only worse so for homosexuals. A heterosexual pair can register AND marry. A homosexual pair can only register. (This is assuming that no church would bless a same-sex marriage) This is a compelling reason to have an option of something like marriage that can be done by the government. Of course...that's what we already have, isn't it? We have paperwork that the government requires (but is filled out in a church with witnesses) and we have a blessing process (which preceeds the signatures). If you don't want to do the signing in a church, or religiously, then you can skip that and just go fill out the paperwork. The only difference I can see between this and the European approach is that we call each process a marriage.

D_Bo's picture

D_Bo

image

My wife and I were both raised as Anglicans, but because the day we chose to be married was in Holy Week, the Anglican church (at that time) wouldn't marry us. I have no problem with that. Similarly, the Catholic church won't (in most circumstances) marry someone who has been divorced. I am now very happy in the United Church, where we do have gay marriages, but no religious group should be compelled to act against their teachings. I tend to agree with those who favour the European approach, where the government registers, and the church marries, but there's no overlap in function, and the marriage (or blessing) is optional.

susanjnichols's picture

susanjnichols

image

Well this is a tricky situation. Yes I am a Christian and as such am bound by the laws of God that state that homosexuality is a sin. I am also a human being living in a very secular world and reality.I truly believe that the government should be the only agent that can legally marry anyone (gay or straight). Then if you are Christian then you should go to your church and have a separate ceremony where you make your vows before God. I don't believe that Churches should be forced to perform gay marriage because that would be forcing them to sanction something that God has called unholy (look in Romans if you don't believe me). If you belong to a church that allows this then you have to decide if you are attending a church that follows bible truth. Just because something becomes mainstream does not make that thing without sin. In the end God has given us free will to make those decisions for ourselves and in the end we will all be judged for our sins. The only difference we can make is to accept Jesus as our one and only saviour. Really none of us is without sin and God sees all sin the same ( a separation from him)

stuart_lyster's picture

stuart_lyster

image

Nope. Churches should not be "required" to do ANY marriages. What you're really talking about is - what is the remedy available to either a couple or society at large if a church or clergy or civil marriage commissioner refuses to do one?

For civil marriage commissioners, licenced by the state, the issue is clear. They refuse, the state fires them.

For religious personnel or religious bodies, what is the remedy? Loss of tax-exempt status? Build a fence around the church property and expropriate it? Make them pay money (like what happens in civil suit actions) to those whom they refuse to marry for whatever reason?

Please note none of those things, in fact, requires the churches to perform the ceremonies. It only exacts a penalty for refusing so to do.

So, with this in mind, just how do you "require them" ie. force them to do it in the first place? Esp. if they're willing to pay the price of not so doing? That still doesn't "require" them to dop anything.

All it does is creates martyrs.

BTW - I am gay positive, have attended SGMarriages (and had a bit of a weep at them, too! They were civil ceremonies, and they were beautiful!)

Bill Vollrath's picture

Bill Vollrath

image

NO

ABC's picture

ABC

image

If the government forced Christian churches to perform homosexual marriages, I for one, would fight it til the end. I don't think that this isn't too far in the future either in Canada as it seems that the extreme left likes to force their immorality on the rest of us.

mchlndrwrchr's picture

mchlndrwrchr

image

stewart_lyster

I don't even believe there should be penalty for those churches who choose not to partake in same-sex ceremonies. Each church has always had the right to decide who may marry in their church. This right should continue as it always has. If, for religious reasons, a church chooses not to perform these ceremonies, well, they have that right. On the other hand, if they profess to believe in a religion where same-sex marriage is not sinful and is not any trouble, but still they refuse, then they are being hypocrits. I suppose they still have the right, but their church would be saying one thing and then doing the opposite.

As for public servants, you are absolutely correct. Well, nearly. I believe that any homosexual couple should expect that they can walk into any office which lisences marriages and can walk out with a lisence. That doesn't mean that each and every employee has to be willing to offer them a lisence, but it does mean that there must be someone there who will. If the individual who disagrees with same-sex marriage is working alone, s/he MUST give out those lisences or face unemployment.

As an example to that point, if I were to walk into an office and stand in line and the clerk before me disagrees with my relationship then he may say "Give me one second please." and then go find his supervisor who can then approach me and say "How can I help you?" at which point I can repeat my request and get the lisence I wanted. But, if I were to go in and his supervisor was ill and nobody was there to assist him, then he would have the choice of honouring my request or leaving his job.

I feel that that is an acceptable compromise regarding religious freedom and the right of a same-sex couple to a (civil) marriage.

revjohn's picture

revjohn

image

Agnostic,

Hi,

You asked:

"Hi everyone, I am interested in people's thoughts as to whether churches should be required to perform gay marriages?"

Technically ministers are not 'required' to marry anyone. As a minister I have the right to look at any couple coming to me and asking for me to solemnize their marriage and say no.

I can refuse to perform a marriage for anyone be they gay, straight, transgendered, same race, mixed race or simply other.

John

sighsnootles's picture

sighsnootles

image

no, i don't think churches should be required to perform ANY marriage... lots of churches choose not to marry people for all kinds of different reasons. at the church i was married at, they wouldn't perform the marriage until you'd been to a marriage preparation course. some churches don't marry couples that aren't members of the congregation. the list goes on.
it should be left up to each church to decide for themselves.

ByOurLove's picture

ByOurLove

image

ABC, you wrote:

"If the government forced Christian churches to perform homosexual marriages, I for one, would fight it til the end. I don't think that this isn't too far in the future either in Canada as it seems that the extreme left likes to force their immorality on the rest of us."

Please listen to what people are saying! Many of the posters on this thread are from Canada, and they are all opposed to forcing any church to do anything. The "extreme left" isn't forcing anything on "the rest of us."

The question was "Should churches be required to perform gay marriage?" All you had to say was, no. There was no need to attack a generalized grouping of people.

To answer the question Agnostic, (And I am Canadian, and Pro-Gay Marriage) I don't think that churches should be required to perform gay marriage; and I would speak out against it if the Government tried to engage in that kind of nonsense.

Everyone who was here should hop over to the other question in the "Social" category on the same subject. I can't remember the topic title, but you'll see it. It's disscussing total seperation of the legal vs religious aspects of marriage. It seems like an interesting thought to add to the question.

Cheers!
ByOurLove

zonker's picture

zonker

image

Personally I am pro same-sex marriage.

But I think a minister has the right to decide whether or not she or he performs any marriage ceremony, whether same-sex or not, and I think the Session (or its equivalent) of every congregation also ought to approve or disapprove of every marriage that takes place in their church.

However, that's easy to say until you consider how someone feels who has grown up in the church and been an active member all their life, and suddenly they can't be married in their church?

Wow, tough question.

Jeffery's picture

Jeffery

image

I am pro-same sex marriage. However, the Charter of Rights and the human rights documents give freedom of religion, as well as other freedoms. I think it is important to allow each religion, governed by what ever body they are governed, to decide whether marriage is a sacrement (or ordenance) that they are willing to extend to same sex couples. Thank goodness the United Church is here, just in case all the other Churches can't see reason!

sylviac's picture

sylviac

image

zonker Seeing that the Lord our God has forbidden same sex marriages. Then a minister who is servant of the Lord, who does perform same sex marriages, is no longer walking with the Lord. Just wonder who has the greater sin, the homosexuals or the minister who does perform same sex marriages.

sylviac's picture

sylviac

image

Jeffery Homosexuals say they are born that way, but scientist say that is not true as there is no homosexual gene. And isnt lying also a sin?

Blah's picture

Blah

image

Sylvia, YOU are the one who is lying. You are lying all over this board. According to your own pronouncements, you, my dear, are on the way to Hell.

Now then. There is no such thing as "gay marriage." The term is same-sex marriage. And churches should perform them if they want to. I doubt most gay people care whether or not churches want to perform same-sex marriages, since it is the STATE that regulates marriage, not the church.

mchlndrwrchr's picture

mchlndrwrchr

image

sylviac: "Jeffery Homosexuals say they are born that way, but scientist say that is not true as there is no homosexual gene. And isnt lying also a sin?"

Lying is also a sin...so...would you ask me to do that for the rest of my life?

I could lie to everyone and be straight, or I could be true to myself and be gay. Those are my options, and they are the options that are mine.

Blah's picture

Blah

image

Good point. But everybody knows that 2 sins make a miracle.

sylviac's picture

sylviac

image

mchindr That is your option. I am not going to tell you what you should do with your life. But I am not in favour of pushing this choice on everyone else, or for me to accept it as normal. Sorry I dont mean to be unkind, but it just goes beyond what I believe is normal.

RevMatt's picture

RevMatt

image

Your understanding of "normal" is in error.

MadMonk's picture

MadMonk

image

Should churches be required? Yes. If not, revoke their licenses and let them do their blessings on their beautiful faithful people and let the rest of society move on and evolve.

StephenGordon's picture

StephenGordon

image

Sylvia, you cannot help but be unkind on this topic. As you, yourself, stated you do not love homosexuals.

You cannot have the brotherly love for fellow humans who are gay and lesbian. You cannot have the love Jesus spoke of as long as your neighbours are gay or lesbian.

When you are unable to love, it is easy to do things unkind, whether you mean to or not. In the absence of any kind of love, you will, more than likely, find yourself unable to be kind.

StephenGordon's picture

StephenGordon

image

The case in point is making a conscious effort to locate and respond to something, anything, to do with those you are incapable of loving.
This topic had not been responded to in 57 days. Thank you for once again showing how much you "do not love homosexuals"

gramps's picture

gramps

image

I'm a little tired of people screaming about homosexuality because "the Bible says it's a sin." Those who say that such is the Law of God would be advised the Holiness Code in which this statement appears, in Leviticus.

It's apart of the Levitical Holiness Code, which also says that a number of other actions are "sin" against the Lord. These are matters like making sure that the bull you bring for a whole burnt offering is perfect, and is slaughtered before the Lord. Another is that it is "sin" to wear garments woven from more than one fabric! Or that it is "sin"to charge interest on money loaned! (This would also likely mean that making money off the interest of invented cash would also be "sin."

When a man and a woman have sex, according to this Code, they are afterward unclean (cut off from the Lord) and they must bathe (separately, I would guess). They are unclean until the evening - cut off from God. I could go on, but won't

So, SylviaC and all the other one-verse-Bible-quotewrs, grow up!! If you wish to call in the Holiness Code, then you MUST use all of it!! One verse is ridiculous! Those who quote the one verse about homosexuality reveal their vast ignorance pof the Bible. So button up andf get an education!

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

image

Gramps . I am so tired of people deciding what is a sin and what isn't. same-sex aside, I don't like the judgement these peopleuse over us., if it wasn't same sex, it would be something else,grrrrrr

tigerlilly's picture

tigerlilly

image

I can't see any reason that I'd want to be married in a church that didn't want to allow my marriage to take place. I would want my wedding ceremony to be about the commitment between myself and my partner - not some sort of political statement.

Having said that I think it's very sad that many churches oppose same-sex marriage. But it is a reality that we live with in our society. Forcing churches to change their practices wouldn't really change anything. Somehow change has to come from within. Don't ask me how!!!!

angelwings's picture

angelwings

image

If two people truly love each other what should it matter to you?? My best friend is gay and i wish him all the happiness in the world. Meet a gay person and discuss this with them . They only want the same thing you and i want. Someone to love and someone to love them. Get out of the dark ages.

mikenahas's picture

mikenahas

image

As a UCC(US) minister, now serving the UC of Canada, I made very clear when I came to Bedford(QC) that the church(es) had the right not to support same sex marriage, but I would perform the wedding if asked to do it, as long as same sex couples were willing to go through every step straigth couples woulg have to go through. If they didn't want me to perform in the church, I would do it somewhere else.

They accepted and understood my position.

Michel

Serena's picture

Serena

image

No, I do not think that churches should be required to perform same sex marriages. If the same sex marriage is forced on the Church by the clergy than the people will leave the Church and the couple that got married in the Church would likely be unwelcome in the Church after the marriage anyway.

Witch's picture

Witch

image

As has already been pointed out, churches are not being forced to perform any marriages at all, either way. So it's a non-issue.

HoldenCaulfield's picture

HoldenCaulfield

image

ABC as always you have done a fine job at demonstrating your level of paranoia over a non-issue. No one is now or will be forced to perform a same sex religious wedding. However, you may still want to put on your aluminum foil hat you never know if someone is probing your thoughts (do. do. do. do.)

Sylviac you never fail to step into it do you. Your knowledge of science is truly a marvel. You made a statement that scientists say there is no gay gene. You are incorrect there is no conclusive study that says there is no genetic factors in sexuality. This an evolving field of study. Science does not work like your religion Sylviac, there isn't one dude who gets to proclaim the TRUTH, it requires multiple studies, many years, many peer reviews and much study and writing to even get an idea of what may or may not be true.

Sometimes I wonder how you can breath with your head stuck so firmly up there.

Holden

HoldenCaulfield's picture

HoldenCaulfield

image

By the way I posted in response to Sylviac, I know that she has been banned but she is here posting under other names such as hopefulone, anyway, so I thought I would just address it to her original handle

Holden

Threat's picture

Threat

image

Churches should be required to do whatever they believe in.

You can't force your beliefs on anybody.

graeme's picture

graeme

image

Churches should not be required to marry same-sex couples, or mixed race couples or divorced couples - not because of any high minded principle - but because so few really give a damn, and if churches have curious stopping points, this is their problem, and I see no reason to make it ours.

All legal marriages (a term that takes into consideration only legal age) should certainly be required of the state. There is reason any couple should be barred from marriage for any reason but age.

Why on earth would any gay want to be married in a chuch that forbade such marriages/ Hell, let such religious bozos go off and play in their own, private puddles. let such churches refuse to marry whomever they like because this is not worth arguing over.

graeme

itdontmatter's picture

itdontmatter

image

Somebody resurrected yet another long-dead queer thread.

foxblue's picture

foxblue

image

NO, because Jesus Christ, although loves homosexual people too, did inform marriage is but for one man and one woman. Also Saint Paul informed in the 1st chapter of Romans same sex-sex is not natural and in unGodly. Plus the Holy Family consists of Mary, Joesph and the child Jesus. / A society of only gays and lesbians would naturally die out. Plus whenever possible children deserve to have both a mom and a dad.!!!

itdontmatter's picture

itdontmatter

image

And yet another homophobe spouting fundy bullshit. Foxblue would have been alright if he had stopped talking after saying "NO". I don't think that ANYBODY wants churches to be required to perform gay marriages.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

image

Hello and Welcome to WonderCafe. I am really pleased that you have found your way to our corner of the internet and I am glad that you are ready to join in our discussions here.

In your enthusiasm you appear to have raised a thread that had died a death about a year ago.

You will find that the United Church of Canada does not share your opinion, nor do many of the members of the church.

Although not all posters, but most of the active posters are affirming in nature, and would disagree with many of these posts.

If you would like to discuss it further, I suggest you start a new thread in Religion & faith.

MikePaterson's picture

MikePaterson

image

I think celebrants should be prepared to mary anyone as a condition of their licence. The exceptions should be suspicions of criminality (people trafficking, abuse, etc).

Back to Social topics