Christian Leaders in U.S. Voice Support for #SCOTUSmarriage

By Betsy Shirley 6-26-2015
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Following the Supreme Court’s ruling today that “same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States,” many wondered how Christian leaders in the U.S. would react.  

“And now, awaiting reax from US church leadership…buckle up,” tweeted Rocco Palmo, a Roman Catholic commentator this morning, shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision had been announced. 

But despite lingering stereotypes, many religious folk in the U.S. are now supportive of same-sex marriage. In fact, a recent survey found that “among religiously affiliated Americans, supporters today actually outnumber opponents.”   

Below, read some of the responses from Christian leaders — including evangelicals, Catholics, and Protestants — who have expressed their joy and support for today’s Supreme Court ruling, as well as the work left to be done towards full LGBTQ inclusion in our nation and churches.  

Nadia Bolz-Weber, ordained ELCA pastor serving the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colo., in an email to Sojourners: “My congregation and I are overjoyed about the Supreme Court ruling today. I'd like to share one response from Amy Hanson, a parishioner, soon-to-be wife of Katrina, and future ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: ‘I know I'm a beloved child of God, but it's easy to forget that when the country thinks you are an abomination,’ said Amy. ‘I want to live real and love my partner and marry her, and today, I feel like I'm finally able to do that and know that I'm starting at the same place as anyone else. I wish my scared teenage self could have seen this in the future. I'll keep proclaiming the overwhelming love of God and the justice of the Gospel for every scared teenager and every LGBTQ adult, because ultimately love wins.’”  

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, Senior Minister of The Riverside Church in the City of New York, in an email to Sojourners: “In a world where despair at so much injustice seems perpetually overwhelming, we joyfully celebrate moments of grace that remind us of the deepest convictions of our faith, that love wins and justice will prevail. At the heart of the gospel story is an insistence on radical love, a love that tears down barriers and defies death, that reminds us we are all beloved children of God created in God’s image. With the legal recognition of marriage equality today, the moral arc of the universe bends over every state in our nation moving us a little closer to justice for all. Renewed by this affirmation, let us now continue the work of fighting for justice and equity for all God’s children.”  

Rev. Jennifer Bailey, Founder, Faith Matters Network, in an email to Sojourners: "Today marks an important milestone for our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ movement. The SCOTUS decision affirms the right of all couples to love as God intended them to — with their whole heart free from discrimination and fear. As we celebrate and bask in the joy of this moment let us remember that there is still much work to be done. Until all LGBTQ people are able to live free from systemic discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, and policing practices the quest for liberation will not be complete. The arc of the moral universe is long and today we saw a glimpse of what justice looks like."

Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director at New Ways Ministry, in a press release: “The Supreme Court’s decision embodies the Catholic values of human dignity, respect for differences, and the strengthening of families. While the U.S. Catholic bishops have consistently opposed marriage equality measures on all fronts, Catholic people in the pews have had a different perspective from their leaders. The lived faith of Catholic people has taught them that love, commitment, and sacrifice are the essential building blocks of marriage and family.”  

Rev. Broderick Greer, curate at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tenn., in an email to Sojourners: “While the right to marry has been expanded to same-sex couples in all 50 states, LGBT and queer folks still have no workplace discrimination protections in 29 of those. In effect, I could marry the love of my life on Saturday and lose my job due to my sexual orientation on Monday. While we must pause and celebrate this momentous occasion, we must also contemplate the mountainous journey forward in the journey toward full LGBT liberation.”  

Rachel Held Evans, best-selling author of Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding Churchin an email to Sojourners: “Today the Supreme Court recognized what more and more American citizens have come to believe: that people in same-sex relationships are entitled to the same constitutional protections as the rest of us. Christians in particular can rejoice that so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith now have access to the tough, beautiful, and redemptive relationship of marriage, which speaks so powerfully to the world about mutual love and self-sacrifice that Scripture says it reflects Christ's love for the Church. I am thankful, too, that religious freedom has been protected so that faith communities that object to same-sex relationships on religious grounds will not be forced to perform those marriages. Though divisions regarding sexuality still persist in the Church, today's ruling ensures that those divisions do not infringe on the civil rights of our fellow citizens. It was a just and fair ruling, and I join many of my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends in celebrating it.”   

Marco A. Grimaldo, Presbyterian ruling elder, Washington, D.C., in an email to Sojourners: “In my lifetime we have gone from neglected and ignored to finally recognized and even celebrated. The court’s ruling today has settled the question in favor of equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trasgender persons. Praise be.”

Cynthia Lapp and Michelle Burkholder, pastors of Hyattsville Mennonite Church, in Hyattsville, Md., in an email to Sojourners: “It is a great day. Our congregation rejoices with all the families, couples and single people who can now live with more dignity and safety in the US.”    

Brandan Robertson, evangelical writer, activist, and speaker, in an email to Sojourners: "The ruling we’ve seen today is a major movement of God’s Spirit in our midst, calling the church, our nation, and our world towards redemption, reconciliation, and restoration — but we still have a long way to go. In the evangelical church, we must continue to work to help teach our people how to rightly divide the word of truth, instructing them on how to correctly interpret the biblical message based on context and a theology of progress. We need to continue to call the thousands of evangelical leaders who have already changed their minds on questions of LGBTQ inclusion to step forward, no matter what the cost, because it is our duty as followers of Jesus Christ to sacrifice our self-interest and comfort for the good of the oppressed."

Kerry Bush, Pink Menno Leadership Team, in an email to Sojourners: "I am rejoicing with the LGBT community on this historic occasion. There is no legal institution more sacred than marriage, and I find myself overjoyed that our LGBT brothers and sisters can now partake in it legally in all 50 states. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" 

Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian and founder of The Reformation Projecton Twitter: “Today is a day Christians should celebrate, for it is a day of justice, dignity, equality, and love. ‘Let justice roll down like waters!’”  

Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners: “Today the Supreme Court affirmed that fairness under the law belongs to everyone. Today we took another step toward living up to our highest ideals. It is true, as Justice Kennedy said, that ‘the nature of injustice is that we don't always see it in our own time.’ But when we do see it, we must act to overcome it.”

Editor's Note: Certain comments on this thread involve personal attacks against both the writer and other commenters, so we have closed comments on this article. We welcome a diversity of thought, opinion, and beliefs when expressed in ways that are respectful of others. 

Betsy Shirley (@betsyshirley) is associate editor at Sojourners.

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