Churches and same-sex couples

Gary Huffenberger - Staff Writer

Folks from Ohio and Tennessee will consider Friday and Saturday in Wilmington whether same-sex weddings are something to hold in the 28 Quaker congregations affiliated with Wilmington Yearly Meeting.

Same-gender marriages are of course legal in Ohio and Tennessee and all 48 other states after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2015. But discussions and decisions on the subject are ongoing in religious circles.

How Christians answer the question often largely depends upon how they see the Bible. There are biblical passages, including in the New Testament, that oppose homosexuality. If a person thinks the Bible is an authoritative guide to living, they may well believe a church should not conduct same-gender weddings.

But many of us within Christianity do not regard the Bible as error-free or necessarily having the last word. In fact, you don’t have to read any further than the first chapter of the Bible’s first book to realize biblical writings are not unerring.

Sometimes the remark God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve is brought up in connection with the question of same-sex marriages and the church. It’s not really a point that carries weight, though, if you don’t regard the Genesis creation story as historically accurate.

Similarly, many of us regard an unquestioning obedience to any and all behavior guidelines found in the Bible to be a very questionable mindset.

Homosexuality has for a long time been a taboo. However, when we start to ask questions about the prohibition, we can wonder what is harmful about the relationship as such.

I like the statement on the marriage page of the downtown Wilmington Friends website: “Wilmington Monthly Meeting of Friends welcomes people of all orientations and seeks to provide guidance and support to all intimate relationships that reflect the love of Christ. It is our experience that this deep love is not restricted to heterosexual relationships. Therefore Wilmington Monthly Meeting of Friends will treat all requests for marriage equally, without regard to gender.”

Do Christians really want to officially frown upon a caring relationship between persons who desire to be one another’s life partner?

Or, in the alternative, aren’t such unions something to celebrate and bless?

Gary Huffenberger

Staff Writer