By Nathan Kraatz
WILMINGTON — The United States Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision Friday, that states must license and recognize gay marriage in every state, a ruling that two local pastors see differently.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America granted people the right to “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
Rev. Dean Feldmeyer, of Wilmington United Methodist Church, said he personally supports the majority’s ruling, even as the United Methodist Church doesn’t, and Rev. Dennis Humphreys, of Calvary Baptist Church, said he was “saddened” by the news.
“It seems like our culture that we have grown up in and that we’ve known since this nation was founded is fast going down the tubes,” Humphreys said.
Feldmeyer said, “My personal position is that I support the ruling. I believe that people should be able to marry the person they love.”
Feldmeyer noted that his belief “puts me at odds with my denomination” because the United Methodist Church doesn’t support gay marriage. Still, he believes his church’s members welcome everyone into the congregation.
Humphreys believes almost his entire congregation believes gay marriage goes against the word of God.
“We think marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s what God has given in his word,” he said. “My attitude and what I try and share is that we still love those individuals but it’s still our responsibility to stand for the word of God … not to water it down or replace it with our own thoughts.”
Humphreys made clear he doesn’t believe gay people should be treated badly, “but we disagree with that kind of lifestyle,” which he said has contributed to a degeneration of the family unit.
“It just seems like the family unit, from what our traditional families has been, have been so attacked,” he said. “It’s almost like anything goes now.
“It’s against the word of God,” he said. “We stand strongly to what the word of God says. … We’re going to take our stand on what God says and not what man thinks or what man wants to see happen.”
Feldmeyer also claimed scripture in his beliefs; he said he has some friends who are gay or lesbian.
“My understanding of the gospel, as presented to us in the New Testament, is that we are called to one another as God calls on us,” Feldmeyer said. “I believe that to be what Jesus wanted.”
Despite his beliefs, the United Methodist Church does not support gay marriage, and Feldmeyer, who swore an oath to uphold that discipline, said, “I therefore would sadly and regretfully not be able to participate in a same-sex marriage” as officiant.
He said he was working and hoping to change that within the denomination at large.
“I cannot imagine that a loving God would condemn people for their sexual orientation that has been theirs since birth.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.