Churches have always had a say in who they would marry. Many churches won’t marry non-members or allow non-members to use their facilities. Churches often require a series of counseling sessions.
Pastors often question prospective married couples about church membership, lifestyle choices, whether they are marrying within the Christian faith, are they presently “living in sin,” and a whole list of other requirements.
The majority of churches that perform marriages are not light a chapel in Las Vegas
If states require that churches marry same-sex couples, they will be discriminating against a church’s jurisdictional ecclesiastical oversight as a church, thus, violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and most likely a state’s own Constitution.
The following is written by Joseph Mattera to help churches put into place further safeguards against homosexuals who will test churches on the same-sex marriage issue and then make a legal issue of a refusal.
In the final analysis, churches are going to have to make the important decision on whether they will obey God or men.
The Supreme Court ruling making same sex marriage the law of the land likely means eventual legal issues for bible confessing churches. This is because it is only a matter of time before activist Judges, politicians and the like, attempt to legally force all pastors and churches to perform gay weddings. This is because refusing to perform SSM ceremonies is now officially considered discrimination –on a level equal to other human rights violations such as racism. (a comparison many African Americans do not agree with)
The following are some things pastors and leaders of biblically based churches should immediately do to protect themselves
1. Have something in the church by laws that state that your church will not perform same sex weddings for members and non-members but will conduct wedding ceremonies for one man and one woman as biologically designed by birth (to protect against having to perform “transgender weddings” between those identifying themselves as a man and a woman).
2. Have a stipulation in your church by laws that say something like if their congregation is ever legally forced to perform same sex weddings, all clergy in their congregation will opt out of performing civil ceremonies and will only perform biblically based “covenant ceremonies” that bless the union between one man and one woman as biologically defined by their natural birth
3. Every church needs to have clear criteria regarding who qualifies to be a church member –based on the biblical standards of morality and ethics as well as a process for membership termination. Once written, this section of the by laws should be given and signed off by each person before they are accepted as official church members
4. The church should have a written policy that disallows non-members and non-attendees and or outsiders to rent and or use any of their facilities for same sex weddings and or any civil ceremonies related to marriage
5. If all else fails, and the courts eventually override church by laws – then the only alternative left will be for biblically based clergy to engage in civil disobedience and refuse to comply with the law- irrespective of the penalties, consequences and cultural stigma they will receive.
This law certainly has the potential of separating the “chaff from the wheat” related to revealing which churches and clergy will stand up for biblical ethics and which ones will capitulate to culture more then to Christ.