Religious Leaders Clash Over Recent Gay Marriage Rulings

| by Amanda Schallert
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Religious leaders are speaking out to let the country know their stances on gay marriage in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions to allow gay marriage to resume in California and strike down an act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Supreme Court voted Wednesday to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denied same-sex married couples the same marriage benefits of heterosexual couples. The court’s decision also means the federal government will have to recognize the marriages of same sex couples in the states that allow it, according to the Washington Post.

The court’s decision regarding California concerned the appeal of Proposition 8, which aimed to reverse the California Supreme Court’s decision to support gay marriage in 2008. The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear the appeal, according to USA Today.

The decisions proved controversial, as both cries of victory and outrage clashed across the United States on Wednesday. 

Religious leaders have come to the defense of their church’s stances on the court’s rulings. 

Among those leaders that opposed the decision was Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters,” Dolan said. “While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.”

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, also spoke out against gay marriage and noted the momentum the issue has gained in recent years.

“Same-sex marriage is on the march, even apart from these decisions, and is headed to your community, regardless of whether you are sitting where I am right now, on Capitol Hill, or in a rural hamlet in southwest Georgia or eastern Idaho,” Moore said.

Other leaders, such as Tim Wildon, president of the American Family Association, deemed the decision a threat to the institution of marriage in a country founded on Christian principles.  

“We mourn for America’s future, but we are not without hope ... Our next line of defense is to vigorously protect our religious liberty," Wildon said. "The homosexual lobby and agenda is running rampant across America, and is even pervading our elementary schools.”

But statements in support of the decision from religious leaders also rang in the United States. 

“We are moving ever closer to civil laws that recognize the God-given dignity and equality of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers,” said Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church. 

The Supreme Court’s decisions had no direct effect on religious rules that concern marriage. 

Sources: Washington Post, USA Today