As marriage equality sweeps across the United States, ordained ministers are left to figure out their role in the institution. For denominations that have fundamental disagreements with same-sex marriages, do they continue to officiate ceremonies or do they abdicate the privilege to the state? This is the subject of a recent article in the New York Times penned by Universal Life Church minister Mark Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer discusses the notions of civil marriage and “Christian marriage,” noting that civil marriage is bound by the equal protection clause of the Constitution, and therefore cannot discriminate against classes of people like “Christian marriage” hopes to do.

The suggestion from many conservatives is to pull ministers out of the marriage business altogether. In the conservative Christian magazine First Things, a “Marriage Pledge” was recommended to readers wherein the clergy vow to not perform ceremonies or sign marriage licenses for any couple, gay or straight. They instead will slough off this duty to civil authorities, burdening justices with an onslaught of couples that may actually prefer to have a religious ceremony in a church, but instead are forced to have a cold, hollow wedding officiated by a government stranger.

Taking My Ball and Going Home

dv1436062Why now? What is it about marriage equality that deserves this sort of reaction? We know that conservatives count it as an affront to the sanctity of marriage, but why was this supposed solution not proposed when straight adulterers were getting married, or before the 4th wedding of a habitual divorcee? A real abomination is the hypocrisy of finding no fault with those situations yet deriding a committed lesbian couple of several years as being a threat to marriage.

In his article, Oppenheimer mentions the opinion of doctors Seitz and Radner that marriage equality undermines the age-old notion of “Christian marriage.” We put this term in quotes because it isn’t exactly clear from an educated perspective what it is supposed to mean. Conservatives would of course be quick to tote the line about it being between one man and one woman, but that certainly isn’t Biblical.

The first couple of Genesis is sometimes held up as a model for marriage with the phrase “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I doubt this is what conservatives mean by “Christian marriage,” since to populate the planet, the couple had to engage in quite a bit of incest, so we can easily throw this notion out.

Beyond the incest, the Bible is rife with examples of men having many sister wives and harems of concubines in addition. Good men of God such as Lamech, Esau, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Gideon, Elkanah, David, and Solomon all failed the “one man and one woman” test of sanctity.

With plenty of counter-examples to “Christian marriage” counted as valid in scriptures, the one man one woman rule is really just an ad hoc response to marriage equality. Therefore the suggestion from some conservatives that ordained ministers refrain from performing weddings amounts to something like the old playground whine, “If I can’t get my way, I’m taking my ball and I’m going home!”

Religious Right to Perform Weddings

lesbian weddingWhat the Marriage Pledge seems to completely ignore is the fact that ordained ministers already have the right to perform only the marriages they want to perform. Unlike public services like bakeries and florists that must abide by laws against discrimination, a minister can turn away a couple for any reason.

The ULC supports the rights of ministers on all sides of the issue. Whereas some conservatives would hope to hold your wedding hostage to make a political statement, we believe you deserve the wedding you want – it’s your special day! If you want a gay Star Wars themed wedding performed by a Jedi, may the Force be with you. If you want a Christian marriage between one man and one woman, more power to you. ULC ministers are free to officiate as they see fit.

Real Ordination, Real Ministers

Oppenheimer sheds light on a very interesting topic. He shows how the trends in weddings are changing. As a ULC minister, he has an interesting perspective in that he is neither part of the traditional institution, nor is he a civil officiant. He personifies the actual transition he discusses.

Contrary to his idea that ULC members are “clergy lite,” we are fully recognized ministers in the eyes of the law with all the rights and privileges therein. Many members carry out work beyond performing weddings. His choice of the label is interesting, given that he has performed a wedding with his ordination – something only actual clergy can do.

As real ministers like Oppenheimer, we have a say in this debate. It is our right to perform weddings, and the Monastery will never tell you otherwise. We are at the forefront of a new institution where innovation is not afraid of tradition, and tradition does not curtail innovation. We hope at some point you would experience the joy of performing weddings and we will continue to provide guidance on making sure your ceremony is legally binding and offer the tools necessary to carry them out.

56 comments

  1. Linda Brammer says:

    This is a fantastically well written response to the NY Times article. Thank you! I couldn’t agree more. Marriage is changing and innovation keeps it alive and relevant!

  2. Mike Ravenscraft says:

    I agree with all you have said. I have some gay friend that want marriage. And when the State opens up to that’s what I’m going to do marry them.

  3. Mike Mucciolo says:

    What I think makes the most sense is the way I understand marriages in Mexico are designed. My understanding is the couple first goes through a civil ceremony where marriage contracts are agreed and signed. Then on another date they go to the church of their choice where the ceremony we think of as a marriage is performed and celebrated with invited guests. This separates church and state better than we in the USA seem to be able to do. Even if my understanding is not exactly correct, doesn’t this type of program make sense?

    1. Geoffrey Large says:

      Your understanding is very close. For most of Europe the civil ceremony is usually in the morning, followed, for those who have arranged it, by a church service in the afternoon. It is the civil ceremony that establishes entitlements and benefits access. America claims to have separation between church & state, as well as protection for everyone to practice their religion according to their beliefs. In reality, all of these claims are nothing more than false advertising.

      Government administrators have latched on to church weddings as the passport to rights and benefits as a married coup[le. Because of this financial association – which has nothing whatsoever to do with religious beliefs, the courts and law makers are now intervening in matters of religious belief and removing our religious freedom. They are doing this by commanding and demanding that, where same sex marriage is recognized in a state, the such couples should have the right to demand a wedding service in the church of their choice, regardless of the beliefs of the congregation of that church..

      Far from having religious freedom, in the USA, we now have religious practice and philosophy dictated by law and rights to act according to our religious beliefs being removed from us under penalty of law. The thin end of the wedge was when a practicing Christian baker was penalized by the courts for declining to be associated with a wedding which ran counter to his religious beliefs.

      A wedge get wider as time goes by and pretty soon – despite the contrary window dressing – our “freedom” will be to practice our religion as approved by the government. This has to be stopped!

      Far from separation of Church and State, we have fundamental control and interference of the state in matters that stay well indie the boundaries of religious belief and policy.

      In practice, the celebrants and adherents of Christianity are under serious attack from the agencies of the government of America and, more than at any time in our history since the fall of the roman empire, we are being persecuted, on behalf of other religions – by the government of our own country,

      1. Pastor Deb says:

        Well, that was a well worded load of crap. Marriage is not a “Christian” institution, unless of course, you believe that Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan, etc., etc.are not really marriages.

        Christians don’t have an exclusive on marriage, although conservatives most definitely make it a Christian issue, as though no other faith exists.

        Church will continue to be protected under the law not to have to perform a wedding for a homosexual couple. Shoot, they can refuse to marry an inter faith, or inter race couple if they want to, and some will.

        Marriage is a legal issue, not a religious one. The church doesn’t perform a divorce or decide on the equitable distribution of property. The court does that. Why? Because a marriage is a legally binding contract, and therefore falls under the laws of the state.

        We constantly hear from these conservatives how homosexual marriage is going to destroy marriage as we know it, but they never really can tell us how, can they?

        If my gay friends get married, it doesn’t have any impact on my life. If gay strangers get married, it has even less impact since I don’t even know them.

        But what does marriage equality give to them? It gives them the right to medical benefits afforded to a spouse. It gives them the right as “next of kin” in making medical decisions. It allows them to file joint tax returns, receive pension, 401K and a whole host of other financial and emotional things that the couple in a “Christian Marriage” have. It also allows them the opportunity to celebrate their love just like the rest of us.

        As for the baker? He runs a business. If he said it went against his religious beliefs to bake a cake for an inter racial couple, would that be ok? He’s a businessman, and his business is to make cakes.

        We are currently hearing about laws where companies can refuse to hire homosexuals if it goes against their religious beliefs. The funny thing is, it is completely illegal to ask any applicant about their sex life either on an application or in an interview. So people won’t be hired based on the way they look. Talk about a thin line.

        If, as an ordained member of the clergy, you don’t want to perform a ceremony for a homosexual couple, politely tell them you aren’t available. You have no need or place to lecture them on the “evilness” of their love. If it doesn’t affect your life, leave it alone and move on.

  4. Thomas Jaynes says:

    Abdication is the wrong word. No law in this country forces any clergy person to perform a wedding for the state. The law simply says clergy are authorized to do so. They are not required to do so. Many faiths have strong restrictions on whom they will marry. For example, the Catholic Church is quite adamant about refusing to marry divorced persons. No state has taken issue with this or even suggested that they must marry said people. Religious autonomy is built into the law implicitly.

    Additionally, the U.S. is one of only a small handful of nations that authorize clergy to act as state agents in certifying marriages. Perhaps the only country where this is legit is Vatican City. The clergy is the state there.

    Churches do not need to get out of the marriage business, rather they need to get out of the civil marriage business. This way they maintain their autonomy and simply tell people that the church will perform a religious wedding but it will have no weight under law. They must go to a civil authority to make it legal for the state.

    Our Universal Life Church has few, if any, restrictions on whom we will marry, so acting as an agent of the state is a non-issue for us.

    Churches that refuse to “legally” marry anyone are not “slogging off” their pastoral responsibilities upon the state. If anything they are living up to the particular pastoral responsibilities of their faith.

    In as much as most city clerks perform more marriages a week than most ministers do in a year, it would suggest to me that churches have much bigger fish to fry. If they work at getting their own houses of worship in order, people would flock to them. Perhaps this whole discussion is a non-issue at best.

    1. marysbirdworld says:

      and neither should a wedding company have to worry about being sued if they don’t want to perform wedding that they don’t want to preform, but that’s what happened, next thing you know, clergymen and women will be sued for discrimination because they don’t want to do just that which you just addressed.

      1. Pastor Deb says:

        Actually, a “wedding company” falls under the term of a business for profit and therefore are entitled to a religious exemption.

        I know you don’t like that answer, but there is a huge difference between what a for profit business can do vs what a religious organization can do under the eyes of the law. So your theory about clergy being sued is moot (that means it has not meaning).

        1. Death says:

          You seem to want to force everyone to accepting your way of life just as the media. You try to make us feel guilty for non-accepting your choice to go with Satan and even having Laws passed to punish those who choose Gods law. You call it discrimination and being a bigot, if so then aren’t you calling God and his word the same? If you really believe in God then you have no arguments.

          According to the Original 1611 version of the Bible on the subject of Homosexuality it is very clear.
          Leviticus 18 22, Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination
          Leviticus 20 13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
          Any changes to Gods word is Abominable,
          Revelations : 22 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
          19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
          To alter the Bible and Gods word is abominable, just to justify your needs in the flesh is an abomination and to alter the minds of others with this abomination and is therefore Satanic and thus from Hell.
          I do not see anywhere in the Bible where it accepts homosexuality whatsoever, except in twisted and false versions of the Original, which there are many versions.
          Theologian’s that alter the Bible to fit their needs on the foundation of theory alone are liars and Deceiver’s and work directly for Satan. Making what is theory alone a foundation of truth is like a glass that holds no water. Did you know that most western religions go with the same Theologians?
          You can’t twist what is evil into good just to suit your Physical needs or desires.
          You have to see beyond this world of flesh which is Satan’s, for it is your Spirit that returns to God. That’s why we are here to choose Satan’s world of flesh or God the one who created you and gave you everything.
          Is there anything about ABOMINATION you don’t understand?
          Anything abominable; anything greatly disliked or abhorred.
          2.
          Intense aversion or loathing; detestation:
          He regarded lying with abomination.
          3.
          a vile, shameful, or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.

          I don’t care if you dislike me for what I have written, for it is truth according to God’s word. I for one Love God for all he has done for me and will not be deceived by any man who alters or changes Gods word.

  5. Pneozoetheos Kings says:

    I definitely believe in equality, and believe that Marriage Ceromonies should be Performed
    By Ministers, if that is what the couple desire & agree on.

    1. marysbirdworld says:

      DOES YOUR EQUALITY ALSO INCLUDE LETTING OTHER KINDS OF PERVERTED ABOMINATIONES DO WHAT EVER THEY WISH. IVE EVEN HEARD OR PEOPLE THINKING THEY LOVE THE EFFEL TOWER, AND WANT TO MERRY IT, SO DOES THAT MEAN, IT SHOULD BE OKAY, .LOVE IS SUBJECTED AND LEARNED, IF PEOPLE DONT PUT THEMSELVES INTO IMPROPER SITUATION THEY WOULDNT FIND THEMSELVES IN, THEY WOULD NOT GET INTO TROUBLES LIKE THESE. MARRIAGE IS A HOLY STATE, AND IT SHOULD NOT BE MUDDIED UP BY ABOMINATIONS.

      1. Pastor Deb says:

        Mary,

        Once again, find a spell check program or take an English Composition class so you learn how to write properly. And for the sake of all that is holy, stop screaming at everyone with your all caps posts, it makes you look like a fool and certainly doesn’t encourage people to think you have anything intelligent to add to the conversation.

        Love is not “subjected” and is only partially a “learned” emotion, as we first feel the love of our parents which is a much different type of love than we feel for a partner.

        We all understand that for you marriage is a holy state and only a religious commitment. However, it is not the same opinion held by the world. You need to learn to respect others as you wish to be respected. This is in your Bible, but you seem to not ever find those passages. I won’t look them up for you because you need to learn this on your own.

        1. Death says:

          The only one on here that shows disrespect is you Deb. To love someone the way you do towards the same sex, is to love your own flesh and that kind of love is not love, it is for the love of flesh. To make love with the same sex is like making love with ones self and that’s not love, that’s lust. You can love all people in the Spirit for they are creations of God just like you.
          Do you know where you are Deb? This is Satans world of flesh which is Hell on this Earth.
          The fall of Eden led to the rise of hell and its up to us to choose and you seem to choose this world of flesh and those who choose this world, will never leave it.
          James: 4.4. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
          You seem to be a friend of this world, Deb.

      2. Lover of love says:

        Homosexuality is not a perversion. And I’ve read in your post before that you relate homosexuals to molesters and rapists. Let’s observe… In the relationship between a molester/rapist and the victim, one person in the relationship is hurt. One person has their choices taken away. They’re often left hurt, confused, bloody, beaten, betrayed,.. They have their confidence stolen. They are instilled with fear and therefor anger. One person in that relationship, through force or trickery, took what they wanted with no regard for the other persons wants. One person in that relationship will cry, shrink emotionally, develop a pattern of ongoin nightmares and remember the horrible incident, forever altering their God given right to a joyful life. Please explain how that can be related to two people in love. Furthermore, the majority of molester and rapists are straight. Even if you break it down to ratios, still the higher percentage of molesters/rapists are straight. So when you clump homosexuals and molester/rapists in the same group, it sounds, well, dumb. I’m not trying to be insulting, it’s just that the word “dumb” is the most relevant word.
        Rapists come in all shapes and sizes and colors and nationalities, and for you to compare rapists to homosexuals makes no sense. It’s my bet that a homosexual can go their whole life without molesting anyone. I also remember reading one of your post where you claimed genitalia doesn’t belong in a mouth for sanitary reasons…which I find humorous…for if genitalia is too dirty for a mouth, why is it not too dirty for a vagina. At any rate, we have soap these days.
        I’m glad the topic of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is striking such a discourse amongst the people of the world…it’s how we grow and adjust as humans. And grow & adjust we must. We are all children of the same universe. Love will win.

  6. pcwallace1 says:

    The Bible is very clear that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Not between two people of the same sex.

    1. joseph says:

      First of all, no it isn’t, as the article mentions. Second, so what? This nation was founded on the notion of a separation of church and state. That’s why the pilgrims fled England. Our founding fathers never ever wanted religious laws to be the laws of the land and they said as much. Look at these quotes from them on the subject: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/04/35-founding-father-quotes-conservative-christians-will-hate/

      1. marysbirdworld says:

        the bible is clear, in fact Paul who translated Gods words and who delivered the messages, was a homosexual and was worried about not being allowed to enter into the kingdom of heaven because if it, and was told to not act on his urges, and he had struggled with it all his life. the founding fathers were more worried about the government controlling religions, rather then worried about being worried about Christian values, as most of them had some belief in some Christianity, as many of them such as ben franklin were masons and Rosicrucian’s and they have a fundamental belief of Jesus Christ. but they did not want the government like in Russia that waned a state ran religion to get a foot hold. and everybody over there, really want to have a Christian type religion. and just because cavil laws say one thing does not make it right according to many religious beliefs, and Gods belief. since when does the government really know what’s right for the people, they screw up everything. the government doesn’t know right from wrong. it just knows to please the special interest people who sqeeks the loudest.

        1. Pastor Deb says:

          Mary, due to too much coffee this morning, I can’t seem to help trying to teach you logic and reasoning. First of all, the spelling and grammar errors in the above post make it very difficult for me to read, and I can do so because I was an English tutor to foreign language students. I’m sure for others, they read your post and have no idea what you are saying. Either take your time and think about what you are writing or you will continue to have no respect from people reading your posts.

          Regardless of your views on what your faith’s interpretation of the Bible tells you, marriage in the United States is governed by law. Yes, I also believe in the sanctity of marriage, but I believe in marriage equality, and also following the law. Same sex marriage is legal in NJ, where I live, and I cheered when it went into law.

          You don’t have to agree with it, but your ridiculous conclusions that people will start marrying buildings and animals because same sex marriage is going to become legal in all 50 states soon is just ignorant and grasping at straws to try to justify your position.

  7. keithmillernet says:

    There is a huge dissconnect between civil and church marriage. Civil is left up to the stae and now in 36 states this right cannot be denied. The church, without regards to what type, has a unique right as well, and should not be imposed on if they choose not to perform same-sex marriages. It should not even be questioned. Even unbelivers do not attempt to impose their views on the church. Just leave it along..find a church that wants to do same-sex marriages and leave the other church’s beliefs alone. Ministers are scared, and tightly so, that they will be forced in the future to perfom marriages they do not agree with.

    1. Pastor Deb says:

      I don’t think the fear is justified. They will always have the religious exemption, and any lawsuit that might be filed won’t go far because of that religious exemption.

      But religious institutions who are against same sex marriage are going to have to realize that their beliefs are going to become a minority view, and that if members of their congregation don’t share that view, they will find a church that shares their view. THAT is a justified fear, and the only place it really effects them is in their wallets.

      1. Death says:

        Yes Deb your right, the majority will agree with you and the minority will agree with God.

  8. George says:

    I agree that Civil Law , as we know it to be is not governed by the bible. So as far as refusing to marry anyone clergy can refuse to marry anyone that they choose because they are not bound by Civil Law to perform a wedding ceremony as a Civil Servant is.

  9. warjna says:

    I have several thoughts regarding marriage equality. First, the civil institution of marriage has more to do with taxes and fees for the government than with personal commitment. My point of view on that is this: is there so much love in the world that we can afford to legislate against it?

    Next, there is the issue of the separation of church and state. The beliefs of one established religion have no more weight than those of another established religion, and none of them have or should have any weight when it comes to civil legislature. Remember the biblical quote to render unto God the things that are God’s, and unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Even the bible recommends the separation of church and state.

    Finally, in many states now, mine included (Florida–yay!), it is now legal for same sex couples to marry. It is and should be the right of the individual clergy to agree or decline to perform a marriage ceremony. No one should be forced to do something that is against their beliefs. If one clergyperson does not wish to perform a ceremony of whatever kind, there are certainly many others who would be willing to do so. Whyever would anyone want to add to the problem by forcing someone to officiate over something that is against their personal beliefs? For pity’s sakes, have some common sense. Choose someone who will rejoice to celebrate your wedding and add that blessing to your own joy!

  10. Pr Hannington Chris Ntege says:

    thank you

  11. Maryann says:

    I’ll be performing my first marriage in May and it is for a lesbian couple. I never thought of performing marriages until they asked me. It is certainly humbling to be able to be such an important part of an incredible day. Great article and so very true.

    1. marysbirdworld says:

      so if you had a couple of mixed species that wanted to merry would you, they love each other after all, and they are able to preform bestiality, so what would be wrong with that, if you go by that reasoning.

      1. Pastor Deb says:

        Do you even think before you post? Homosexuals are not a “different species.” That was the kind of argument made over slavery and then interracial marriages. Same sex marriage and bestiality (which given your inability to correctly spell nearly anything, I’m very amused you can spell that particular word correctly, and can’t resist mentioning the Freudian aspects of such a thing, even though you aren’t likely to understand the reference).

        1. Death says:

          The funny thing is Deb, just how you manage to insult, put down and correct everyone. Do you think you are better because you are a Homosexual and this is your hour of power? You argue with all and don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Your like a bad rerun on television that goes nowhere.
          Most people are posting their comments, and yet you post insults and putdowns.
          I personally do not like the way you act towards others.
          If one misspells a word or doesn’t write a sentence correct your right there to insult and judge them. If you don’t like how someone writes then don’t read it and if you do read it keep your insults to yourself, not eveyones as perfect as you Deb.
          You say your Happy, and yet I see hate in your words, like unto a bully. Most bullies are not happy untill they hurt someone, maybe that’s why you are happy, for it makes you feel good to point out everyones mistakes and at the same time putting them down with sarcastic remarks.

  12. Dr john says:

    Marriage is between a man and a Woman and
    Will always be the case.. We do not change
    Things that are supportive to our Heavenly Father
    To support a lifestyle of being gay. Our
    Country was based on Gods principles and
    That will not change..

    1. John A. Owens says:

      Well said, Dr. John. Gay Marriage is an oxymoron.

      1. Pastor Deb says:

        Using the term “Gay Marriage” is derogatory and purposely so. It is same sex marriage, and while you may think it is an oxymoron, it really isn’t.

        Regardless of how you read and interpret the Bible, God did not define marriage.

        But either way, it doesn’t affect you. No one is telling you to marry someone of your own sex. Same sex marriage takes nothing away from you. It doesn’t force you to change your belief system, it doesn’t change anything about what your marriage might involve, and it doesn’t affect the legal or religious status of your marriage.

        So if it has no affect on your life, why does it bother you so much?

    2. marysbirdworld says:

      I really don’t see why it matters to the gay community anyway, those who don’t like it wont respect them and their union anyway, and they wont be excepted by God in heaven. so it really doesn’t seem to be gaining any thing for them except legally, and then why don’t we let bigotry be legal then, and that way those who are separated from spouses but not divorced and living with others partner(S) should be allow to get married if they want to and after all lets not discriminate against them, lets give no body any excuses to not be married, and for that fact lets make marriages mandatory. by say 30 all available adults need to be married, it might be better on the economy, because there will always be a monetary supporter for the family. and there will be less welfare, ect.. after all then marriage can truly be equal. there are many other people who want to be married and cant, this will truly equalize it.

      1. Pastor Deb says:

        Technically, bigotry is legal as freedom of speech You should be really grateful for that, since if bigotry was illegal, you would be imprisoned for nearly every word that comes out of your mouth.

        Will same sex marriage eventually lead to bigamy (two wives), polygamy(multiple wives). polyandry (multiple husbands) and polyamory (multiple lovers) becoming legal? Perhaps, but the legal ramifications and changes in law for that are far too complex for most of the people here to understand, especially the people so against same sex marriage.

    3. Pastor Deb says:

      Actually, our country was based on the right to have religious freedom and separation of church and state, so I’m not sure where you learned your history.

      1. Death says:

        You say our country?
        Ancient Rome was an Italic civilization that began on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world’s population and covering 6.5 million square kilometers (2.5 million sq. mi) during its height between the first and second centuries AD.
        In its approximately 12 centuries of existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an aristocratic republic to an increasingly autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate Southern Europe, Western Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa, parts of Northern Europe, and parts of Eastern Europe. Rome was preponderant throughout the Mediterranean region and was one of the most powerful entities of the ancient world. It is often grouped into “Classical Antiquity” together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world.
        The Romans are still remembered today, including names such as Julius Caesar, Cicero, and Augustus. Ancient Roman society contributed greatly to government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language, society and more in the Western world. A civilization highly developed for its time, Rome professionalized and greatly expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as large monuments, palaces, and public facilities
        “Western World means Roman World”.
        Reservations encampments, concentration encampments, both to separate and segregate, captured or conquered people. Let’s face it, its imprisonment and Reservations are in fact, concentration camps, you see Hitler’s ideas for concentration camps for the Jewish people was from the American Indian reservations, which was the way of Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and British first. Poverty, resentment and outcast by those who are LIARS, WHO COME IN A CLOAK OF GOODNESS AND STEAL THEIR LANDS, SLAUGHTER THE ANIMALS FOR PROFIT, THEY MURDER THEM WHO WERE PEACEFUL AND GIVING, GATHERED UP THE REST AND IMPRISONED THEM ON THE WORST OF THE LANDS IN “RESERVATIONS” (CONCENTRATION ENCAMPMENTS), THEY POISON THESE LANDS AND SELL THESE LANDS WHICH ARE NOT THEIRS AND EXPLOIT THE PEOPLES THEY HAVE CONFINED. MURDERS, THEIVES AND LIARS THESE CIVALIZED PEOPLES THAT CAME FROM EUROPE ARE. EXPLOITATION OF EVERYTHING UPON THIS EARTH FOR MONETARY VALUE, INDIGINOUS PEOPLE MEAN NOTHING TO THE BEASTS OF THIS EARTH WHO’S VERY ROOTS REACH INTO THE BOTTEMLESS PIT(HELL FROM WITHIN).
        That Sow, that Beast with eight piglets (G-8) suckling from its tit’s, that 14% of the world population wines and squeals for more GLUTTONY, MORE FOOD, MORE OIL, MORE LAND, MORE MATERIAL GOODS AND IT SLOPS IN ITS OWN EXCURMENT AND OF ALL THE SPOILS STOLEN FROM THOSE WHICH HAVE BEEN STRIPPED, RAPED, ROBBED AND IMPRISONED UPON THEIR OWN LANDS. OCCUPY NEW YORK? FOR THOU ART A JOKE! FOR IT IS YOU WHO OCCUPY WHAT IS NOT YOURS, YOU ARE THE INVADERS, ITS YOU WHO STINK IT UP WITH YOUR FILTH AND GLUTTONOUS WAYS, YOU WINE AND SQUEAL ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU DON’T HAVE?
        “HOW DARE YOU COMPLAIN YOU FILTHY PIGLETS?” FOR IT IS YOU WHO CONSUME THE SPOILS OF ILL GOTTEN GAINS, FOR IT IS YOU THEY (G-8 AND G-20) KILL FOR, FOR IT IS YOU WHO POLLUTES THE EARTH WITH YOUR TOXIC’S AND WITH YOUR WASTE! WHY? THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE THEY DO IT FOR. THEY SANCTION, THEY THREATEN, THEY INVADE, THEY KILL AND THEY CONTROL OTHER COUNTRIES, LIKE UNTO PARISITES FEEDING ON ITS HOST (ALL WORLD RESOURCES) AND FOR WHAT DO THEY SAY ITS ALL FOR? WHY, FOR “YOU”THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE, AND WHAT DO THESE SO CALLED SPOILED AMERICANS DO? THEY PROTEST AND OCCUPY THE CITIES AND WINE AND SQUEAL FOR MORE. YOU SEE YOU HAVE TO KEEP THESE PIGLETS HAPPY OR THEY GET OUT OF HAND, BUT NEVER TO FAIL, THE BEAST OF THE SEA (GREAT BRITAIN AND EUROPE) AND OF THE EARTH (USA) WILL FEED THEIR GREED, NO MATTER WHAT THE COST!
        You who wine and complain, you who have show’s upon television for profit and fame, you who would kill, murder and maim Gods creature’s, you who boast about your homes your lifestyles your gold and your things, also upon television, you who are liars who call themselves actors, for all are wicked, all are gluttons and you feed upon the minds of all, with great deceptions. You make what is immoral, to be moral. For filth, wickedness and murderers are all the same. All come to this land from all over the World to this land of gluttonies, all worship its mark (monetary), you yearn for its western ways and you all come to Satan’s sweet spot made from milk and honey, as blind sheep being lead to slaughter.
        BOASTING IS EVIL.
        THOSE WHO ARE FRIENDS OF THIS WORLD ARE ENEMIES OF GOD!
        YOU SEE THESE PEOPLES THAT CAME AS FRIENDS (PILGRAMS) AND LIED, AND ARE THE SAME SINCE BABYLON, EGYPT AND NOW ROMAN WORLD (WESTERN WORLD), THEY INVADE, THEY CONSUME EVERYTHING IN THEIR PATH, THEY DISTROY CULTURES, ENSLAVE THEIR PEOPLES, THEY ASSEMILLATE THEIR CHILDREN INTO WESTERN (ROMAN) WAYS, AFTER THEY KIDNAP THEM AND KILL THEIR PARENTS AS WELL AS THEIR FAMILIES, THEY EXPLOIT AND USE AND THEN MURDER. THEY LET THE ONES CONQUERD, BORROW LAND THAT WAS STOLEN FROM THEM AND MAKE THEM LIVE IN SQUALLAR AND POVERTY, WHILE THESE PIGS REAP THE SPOILS AND RAPE AND TURN THE LAND TO A STY.
        INDIGINOUS THEY ARE NOT, AMERICANS THEY ARE NOT, FOR THEY ARE AN ABOMINATION UPON THIS EARTH AND ARE CLOAKED LIKE UNTO A LAMB BUT ARE IN FACT OF THE DRAGON.
        THESE ARE THE (G-8 AND G-20) RULERS OF THE WESTERN WORLD (ROMAN, WORLD) THEY ARE THE
        Babylonian’s
        THE FALL OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN LED TO THE RISE OF HELL!
        You invade this land of our people’s, we are Indigenous of this land and you stink it up with your filth and wickedness. squatters you are.
        Homosexuality is an Abomination in the eyes of the Creator, and you Deb are a part of the problem with your twisted Philosphies.

  13. creativereverend says:

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A rule to live by. There is no way a gay marriage could ever get a religious wedding since it goes against every teaching there is. Marriage is between a man and a woman to procreate and raise a family, that has always been the definition of marriage in the Bible and with God. Any concept of a religious marriage for a gay couple would be a mockery of God and everything he stands for.

    1. Crash Override (@CrashOverride64) says:

      Does that then mean that a marriage that produces no offspring is likewise a mockery?

      1. marysbirdworld says:

        not if the problem wasn’t due to anything the couple did. not if it was from like medical reasons or something like that.

        1. Pastor Deb says:

          So if a couple gets married and chooses NOT to have children, they have sinned in the eyes of your God? So the only purpose of marriage is to produce children.

          That’s hilarious.

    2. Angi says:

      Marriages were performed long before Christianity came into existence. It doesn’t go against *every* teaching as *my* teaching doesn’t have a thing to say about it or marriage at all really. It only goes against YOUR teaching, in which case you are more than welcome to NOT perform any gay marriages. However, since my religion doesn’t have a problem with it, then any couple, gay or straight, that I marry will be a religious marriage.

      Your mistake is in assuming *only* your religion decides a. what marriage is and b. what is a religion. I could go on to historical and biblical mistakes you’ve made as well. In Genesis Lamech married two women, In 1 Samuel God was speaking through Nathan when he said that if David’s wives and concubines weren’t enough he’d give him more. And well, Soloman, enough said. Then there’s Esau, Moses, Abraham, Jacob…. While the Bible does make claims of “one man and one woman”, God has sanctioned multiple wives continuously in the Bible. It suggests He’s rather flexible on the subject of marriage. Nowhere does it prohibit any marriage, it only states a preference..one that’s been up to a translation debate for a very long time.

      1. marysbirdworld says:

        you are mistaken, because even though God sanction multiple wives to marry one man it was for economical reasons, and not because of sexuality and certainly he did not sanction any homo marriages.

      2. marysbirdworld says:

        No kidding that marriages were in existence before Christianity, but God was in existence then and God is the one who said from the very start that man must marry a women and must be married to be complete and fulfilled and that any other kind of joining was an abominations and cheapened the women, if they were not married and had sex. And even though Christianity per say did not exist then, does not mean that some men were not being lead by God, for those who listened to God’s guidance, For those who didn’t it was probably because they were not practicing to listen and follow Gods laws so they did not hear what God said and they lost touch with Gods laws and then they started mocking God because they did not think that God existed, and so they thought they could just do whatever they want to, but it doesn’t mean that at all. because God is still there and still exists, and his laws still matter. out of sight and out of mind is no excuse. all we have to do is to stop being wicked and start listening to what God says again. Then there wont be such wickedness because they would know what God wants.

        1. Pastor Deb says:

          Do you realize that your statements go against God’s word? You pass judgement at every opportunity and are likely one of the most wicked people here. Guess where they leads you at death regardless of your preaching of “God says……?”

        2. Lover of love says:

          Books are written by people, not God. I challenge anyone to produce anything written by God. Like God is somewhere with a piece of paper and pencil. God is we. We and God are one. Please don’t speak for God, I can hear God just fine. God created the universe, galaxies, solar systems, minerals and life. In this enormous, uncomprehendable space of knowingness, I don’t believe God, the one true creater, looked down on this tiny little planet and told anyone homosexuality is wrong. I don’t believe God made a mistake and wants to damn people for who they choose to love. Some very popular books were written with very beautiful stories of kindness and love.,, but we’re also obviously written by men with adgendas. Christ consciousness is a wonderful rule to live by. Kindness compassion service patience tolerance. The rest of the stories are just that… Stories.

    3. Pastor Deb says:

      Whether your interpretation of the bible defines marriage as you say it does or not is irrelevant. As is your belief that same sex marriage could never have a religious ceremony.

      I would not only perform but would be proud to perform a same sex marriage, and I’m just as ordained a minister as anyone else here, and I’m a Christian, and I have a never ending faith in God. And according to what God has told me, this isn’t against anything he “stands for.”

      So please, stop trying to speak for God when all you are using is the Bible which was written by man.

  14. Latasha Danielle Simmons says:

    This article is well written and thought provoking. We have to remember to base decisions pertaining to laws and not just feelings. Hypothetically speaking, if you wanted to obtain any type of theological degree with the concentration of marriage, (based on the bible only) it wouldn’t be obtained if you didn’t ‘stick’ to the facts. If you were asked on a theological test: according to the bible, marriage is between a. Man and a Woman, b. etc. c. etc.; and you provided a letter other than (a), your answer would be wrong. Sooo, the question is, do we want to fail the test? I love everyone based on my religious beliefs. I also believe in the institution of marriage based on the Bible, a man between a woman. The thought provoking part for me, is polygamy. I just love religion as a whole to include the bible!

    1. marysbirdworld says:

      how about polyandry? would you find that just as provocative? because that should be just as fair would it, if we are going to claim marriage equality after all.

    2. Latasha Danielle Simmons says:

      @marysbirdworld 04/03/2015 I respect the institution of marriage, according to the Bible (Man/Male/Husband and Woman/Female/Wife. The husband is the ‘head’ of the ‘house’/family! The best leadership with God as the head! You can’t ‘go wrong’ with divine order/direction and respect for your Husband! Latasha Danielle Simmons!!

      1. Latasha Danielle Simmons says:

        …I want to also state that the husband would make sure his wife is ‘taken’ care of financially (never works), physically, etc. It appears that would be the purpose. It wouldn’t make since for a ‘polyandry wife’ to be left uncovered (left alone), unless it’s a scam. I will always respect my system of belief, regarding the institution of marriage: Man and a Woman, of course the man is the head with God as his family’s guide (he ask for her hand in marriage, leads,/directs, she ‘takes on his views/ideas (the two become one flesh), what a beautiful union! We must continue to pray for blissful marital unions and not discord…whom God hath joined together let …..! Have a very beautiful blessed day!!

        Respectfully,

        Latasha Danielle Simmons!!

        1. Latasha Danielle Simmons says:

          5-1-2015…I can write a book about marriage and I also have the ability to post an online chat comment every day, however; polyandry would not benefit the subject. It’s apparent that marriage at any age especially for young people, ‘is a blessing’. However; when ‘outsiders’ tamper a problem can possibly arise but, it doesn’t have to remain. It’s called maturity and some 9 year olds are more mature/disciplined than their parents/guardians. If you are a female I’m encouraging you to pray for an ‘intelligent’ husband…, and the rest will be ‘set in order’ for Your household’s destiny! Have a very beautiful blessed day/night!!

          Respectfully,

          Latasha Danielle Simmons!!

  15. George Washington Jr says:

    It could not have been stated any better than Latasha did.

    1. Latasha Danielle Simmons says:

      “Pure courtesy,” lol, thanks!

  16. George Washington Jr says:

    This conversation on same sex marriage has been very informative for a lot of varied reasons, and has apparently created a large amount of personal opinions on what should be and what should not be, I feel that all of us should respect the other person`s opinion even though it may differ from our opinion, it appears that this conversation will drag on and on without a happy ending and perhaps create animosity from one to another which would serve no purpose.

    1. Pastor Deb says:

      The animosity stems from religious fanaticism and zealotry. Westboro Baptist Church picketing and protesting the funerals of homosexual soldiers, what purpose does that serve other than to further the grief of the deceased loved ones? Pro-lifers feeling that it is ok to bomb an abortion clinic because they are too ignorant to realize they are taking lives to illustrate their point of how sacred human life is?

      Many of these same fanatics and zealots openly support the death penalty, which, according to the Bible would be passing judgement by man, which is clearly stated not to be done.

      You’re right, there will be no happy ending. But bigotry is born of ignorance and ignorance will never die without education. I try to educate the bigots and relieve them of their ignorance as that is part of God’s mission for me. Am I getting anywhere? I doubt it, but God has commanded me to try to rid the world of bigotry and so I will obey that command to the best of my ability.

  17. Osvaldo Torres says:

    ULC wedding officials hold a unique position from the platform of a uniquely insightful platform; we are not clergymen from denominational religious organizations, and we are not Godless government officials which perform weddings in the manner of registering a business startup. Ministers of one religious denomination does not need the approval of dissimilar religious groups in order to complete their mission. The ULC minister takes this notion down to the individual level–we do not seek approval of other individuals and organizations to complete our life’s work. We can officiate a wedding, guide those in trouble to seek help, and console grieving families amidst their loss.

    The lives of the ministers and pastors of many religious groups have been turned upside down. In ancient history, wives were the property of the husband. This notion of authority in husbandry had continued embedded into the marriage until recent years by calling marriage a strictly religious institution from God. Not long ago, the possibility of raping a wife was unheard of.

    Today we are entering an age where marriage is being transformed into what it should be: a legitimate and legal binding of the lives of spouses based on mutual gifts of love and respect. Sex is also a gift in the form of a passionate and physical expression of love, devotion. It is inappropriate to demand love, respect or sex from a spouse. Such conditions are symptoms of other underlying and more serious problems. Using sex as another form of asserting dominance is slow to being weeded from older concepts of marriage. Lovers are now able to bind their hearts and their lives–forever, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, social status or political backgrounds.

    Recent advances in DNA technology has revealed that we are all related as descendants of a single man and only a handful of women as they began the great migration out of central Africa. I leave out the word “race,” because skin color or geographical birthplace does not place us into a separate race. We are all part of the same human family.

  18. Rich Calton says:

    the only exception that I take with your article is

    “Unlike public services like bakeries and florists that must abide by laws against discrimination, a minister can turn away a couple for any reason.”

    Bakeries and florists are generally NOT owned by the government and are therefore not public services. They can still exercise their moral agency in deciding what business they transact, however stupid that decision is. I personally do not see the ‘logic’ in turning away paying customers.

    Until such time as the US of A descends into fascism people can decide who they want to associate with.

    On the other hand a judge, JP or Clerk of Court being an actual government employee does not have the ability to make those decisions YET the courts, media and the people have come down on both sides of that debate. Examples are Kim whatever her name is [the Clerk of Court] who spent a week or so in jail for not issuing marriage licenses to gays, was indeed wrong. BUT on the other hand the judge who for at least 3 years has refused marry straight couples has at the same time not had anything done to her – she should be removed and disbarred.

    Maybe another way to say this is– I do not like to eat broccoli, to FORCE me to eat broccoli is wrong.

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