Religious leaders see ‘tragedy’ and justice in Supreme Court gay marriage decisions

Same-sex marriage supporter Vin Testa of the District waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court.Bill O’Leary / … Continued


Same-sex marriage supporter Vin Testa of the District waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court.Bill O’Leary / The Washington Post

The Supreme Court has decided. On Wednesday, the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage act as unconstitutional and declined to rule on Proposition 8, sending the measure back to California, where same-sex marriages are expected to resume. In the majority opinion for the DOMA case, justices noted American culture’s “evolving understanding of the meaning of equality” in marriage.

This notion of the definition of marriage as evolving is a key point of disagreement for religious leaders in America. In statements Wednesday, leaders who reject gay marriage denied that the institution can change, while progressive religious leaders pointed to the decisions as proof of increasing justice for LGBT people.

Here’s our initial list of how religious and cultural leaders are responding to the news:

Statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage:

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association:

Official statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod:

Concerned Women for America:

The leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America:

Welton Gaddy, the Interfaith Alliance:

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church:

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington:

Michael De Dora, director of public policy at the secularist advocacy organization The Center for Inquiry:

Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • LawnJockey

    I have never understood why this is such a big deal. If you are a Christian don’t engage in gay marriage. Saying others can’t is like a Muslim demanding that the Court prohibit you from eating bacon. The state should remain neutral on religious issues which I believe is the true meaning of the First Amendment.

    The only area where the ruling troubles me is in regards to third party atcuarial tables which have been based on non gay marriage assumptions. There I think the burden of the ruling should be mitigated so it is shared by the newly insured and the carriers. Perhaps such adjustments have already been made but there has been so little press on the economic impact it is hard to say one way or another.

  • gimpi1

    100% with you , LawnJockey. There is no reason to have religious beliefs given the force of law. The view some faiths have of marriage-equity should be no more relevant than the view some faiths have of inter-faith or inter-racial marriage.

    Marry if you choose to. Marry who you love. Let others do the same. Simple.

  • NoVA09

    Agree whole-heartedly with you both. I think this quotation, from the statement issued by leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, sums it up well: “We..recognize that no religion has the right to dictate its beliefs to the entire body politic… Ultimately, decisions on social policy remain with the democratic process, and today the process has spoken and we accord the process and its result the utmost respect.”

  • Bluefish2012

    In a figurative but nevertheless very real way, Christians are under assault as feverishly as they were when the Roman Empire was feeding them to the lions.

    Good time to read the Book of Revelations. Properly read, it’s a book of hope and encouragement. Equilibrium will return the way God’s people returned from exile in Egypt and Babylon. It will no doubt take time, social upheaval, and no small amount of sacrifice. But the right Man is on our side.

  • jay2drummer

    How are Christians under assault? Literally nothing about the life of a Christian has changed unless they work as a marriage official at the courthouse in California.

  • jay2drummer

    Or if they are gay in and live in any state that recognizes marriage equality.

  • leibowde84

    WRONG: Christians were not openly persecuted by the Romans other than for a very short time during Nero. Christianity, contrary to popular belief, was not illegal except for this very short time in the Roman Empire.

  • leibowde84

    BTW, it’s not persecution when people call you out for intolerance. It is intolerant to think of homosexuals as living a “sinful” life. Teaching your children that their lifestyle is harmful to society makes it even worse. So, quit crying. You are doing this to yourself by clinging to your old-fashioned, traditional beliefs (which are merely based on a book written by man riddled with contradictions).

  • cricket44

    Look at all those ugly, vicious people up there claiming to speak for God.

  • twmatthews

    Yup, I’m sure god is disappointed. He probably had to take time out from infecting African children with malaria to read the decisions.

  • Secular1

    “Equilibrium will return the way God’s people returned from exile in Egypt and Babylon. ” Yup, when they purportedly returned from Egypt, all hell broke loose in Canaan. Besides they were not exiled to Egypt, even according to your stupid texts. They chose to go there. You ought to read your own lies once in a while. They all went there on their own accord. Perhaps they misbehaved there, just like their patriarch, Avram and Egyptians did not care for it and enslaved them – perhaps to teach them a lesson. It definitely wasn’t an exile. In case of the latter, they weren’t exiled either, they were taken captives by Nebuchadnezzar to his country. At least he did not slaughter all the males and despoil the women as Moses, Joshua et al did in Canaan. By any stretch biblical hebrews were the monsters and by comparison their foes were paragons of compassion and humanity, by comparison.

  • Ian Eidas

    “Look at” those who scream loudest for “tolerance” never ever having even one drop for anyone who won’t get in lock-step with them. Either we who believe that the Bible is the Word of God agree with you, or we are called names, hated, believed to be stupid. I always thought my gay friends would understand that – being hated, thought to be things they are not – more than anyone. But instead, it is all about what a small group wants, and the rest of us can be thrown to the lions.

    I cannot say I am surprised, it has always been too easy to be a Christ-follower in the USA. We have seen no persecution like the many who love the Lord & live under oppressive regimes… they know. We are getting a taste of it, but it will get worse.

    The sad thing is that I do love you and want the best for you. But you choose not to see it. Maybe some day.

  • Ian Eidas

    To those who are yelling (still) about intolerance: Oh for Pete’s sake, you like the church leaders who agree with you, but those who don’t, you yell at and say they should not be a part of this. Looks like we have hypocrisy everywhere. We are flawed humans, after all.

    There is no “Book Of Revelations”, by the way. The last book in the Bible is called Revelation. And no, God will not “return equilibrium”. We’re done. This country has been the most blessed and we have allowed it to spit in God’s eye – the God who created us, who loves us, and who people just don’t know anymore. Followers of Christ have gotten fat and lazy, figuratively and yeah, often literally, by NOT doing what we were told to do. Feed the hungry. Put clothing on people who have none. We have gotten WAY too comfy on padded pews, looking through rose colored stained glass windows. Now things look really different and why? Because we forgot the whole point of being a person of faith. Turn of Fox News and go show people what faith looks like! We deserve nothing good from God – luckily He disagrees. But Bluefish, it won’t happen on earth.

  • Rongoklunk

    Once again commonsense and wisdom beats religious ignorance. Homosexuality is a genetic condition and not a choice. But religion insists it’s against God’s will. Yet it was God who created them wasn’t it? Religion is the dumbest belief system. It doesn’t come from science, but from very ancient superstitions of cavemen. Enough already,

  • amelia45

    As a Catholic who believes in the dignity of each person and a citizen of a democracy, I can only applaud the decisions of the Supreme Court today. Bishops of the Catholic Church may have one view, but many Catholic people do not believe the bishops are correct in how a democracy must deal with diversity.

  • Rongoklunk

    @Ian Eidas

    I think what we object to is how one generally becomes religious. It seems that childhood indoctrination is the only way to God. No indoctrination = no God belief. And that bothers us nonbelievers who are not impressed with that way of searching for the truth of things. One does not need to be indoctrinated into scientific beliefs in order to become a scientist. It will become evident as one experiences the natural world that scientific observations make sense. And further study means more real knowledge. Religion can make no such claim. It can only make sense to the indoctrinated. From outside looking in – religion strikes many of us as nothing more than a superstition, and it defies everything we know about reality. People don’t walk on water. Dead men don’t fly. Death is death. No God was ever known to exist. And Heaven is a pipedream. That would seem to be the truth; and atheists and scientists prefer truth to fantasy.

  • An-Toan

    A great shift in consciousness is unfolding: there are no inherent contradictions between sexual orientation and spirituality. The overwhelming majority of people no longer will tolerate the irrational and false views of fundamentalist, Catholic, and other Christian leaders who for decades sexually have oppressed the LGBT. This sexual oppression is a form of spiritual oppression that is incompatible with contemporary Christianity. In time, homophobic remarks that are predicated on dogma properly will be interpreted as hate speech.

  • Rongoklunk

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if their actually was a God. Just imagine. There would never have been two world wars in Europe. No Holocaust. No cancer. A real God wouldn’t tolerate disease or carnage or holocausts and the slaughter of children. He would get involved from time to time to see that everything’s OK with his creations.
    At least he’d DO something which clearly showed how interested he was in human beings. And if there was a God we wouldn’t have to be indoctrinated to believe in him. It would be obvious. He’d be around some time. And I’m sure that any God worth praying to would have got involved when the Asian tsunami of 2004 drowned about 250,000 Asian people. A real God surely would have done something. But the God we got is probably the laziest God in the cosmos. He never ever does anything at all. Never! Just as if he doesn’t exist.
    And it’s hard to get excited about a God who you don’t get to see until you’re DEAD. That alone has scam written all over it.

  • jay2drummer

    We wouldn’t have any issue with your religious leaders opposing same sex marriage or homosexuals, so long as they limit their opposition to religious doctrine and religious laws and religious marriage. It’s when they treat their religious beliefs as a reason to make laws that discriminate that we oppose them. That is, state or federal SECULAR laws. So, keep it in church, out of the ballot box, out of public office, and out of the legal system, and we’d have no problem with you, no matter what you believe. But stop pretending same sex marriage has any impact on you or your ability to practice your religion, because it doesn’t.

  • Ian Eidas

    Hate speech? Say good bye to your First Amendment Rights everyone!
    Why is this being shoved down everyone’s throats? Where is the tolerance? “Believe like we do or we will take away your rights!” – that sounds like a good plan to whom, exactly? I really thought we lived in a free country, but apparently i have to not just believe in the “right” for a man to marry another man, I have to cheer for it or the PC police will arrest me. Good times. What about the rights of the Homeless? Or the mentally ill? Who fights for them? Oh wait, they can’t afford it. This country is so completely screwed, and no one even sees it. And there is no such thing as “Contemporary Christianity” – God doesn’t change. I love my gay friends – some people posting here? Not liking you so much.

  • Ian Eidas

    “Genetic condition”? So, you are comparing being gay to having Down’s Syndrome.
    There is still zero proof that people are born gay. And if you are born the way you are supposed to be and God makes no mistakes, like Lady Gaga sings, why do some people believe they were born in the body of the wrong gender?

    You don’t believe in God, so show me the science. Trust me , I am doing you a favor. You sound angry and un-educated. So prove you aren’t.

  • Ian Eidas

    My faith isn’t religious, it is a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. I do not see the need to tear down people of faith here. Again I ask where is the tolerance? I do not have faith I inherited, I have faith that has been searched out and tested, over and over.

    I knew I would be persecuted for my faith, and this is nothing compared to what will come. I just think the LGBT community makes a bad choice when it lumps all people of faith into a big pile and calls all of us idiots or hateful.

  • alltheroadrunnin

    False, the article is all false. The Supreme Court’s legal interpretations have not a thing to do with religions — they have to do with equal treatment of civil rights and benefits. I wonder when unmarried citizens will gain the same rights and benefits as the married? Even with all the amendments, I see no distinction in the Constitution, as to married or unmarried citizens.

  • jay2drummer

    Benefits like “survivor benefits” or “spousal shielding in court”? Pretty sure these benefits require a spouse to have any impact. Single people don’t have a spouse. However, if they are in a relationship, they do have access to them, by simply going to a courthouse and getting a marriage certificate.

  • jack824

    How could any young person resist the loving and inspirational messages above? The New De-Evangelization program continues on.

  • leibowde84

    It sounds uneducated when you claim that “there is zero proof that people are born gay.” I would argue that we should give homosexuals the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are born gay. If there is no proof either way, why wouldn’t we assume that there is no choice involved. It is extremely cruel to assume the opposite … especially when it is merely used to push your own religious view of homosexuality being “sinful” and “unnatural.”

  • twmatthews

    Yes Ian, you may be the exception to the general conclusion of most religious people that gay people are inherently sinful. You will excuse members of the LGBT community since they’ve heard for so long and continue to hear to this day, that their existence is wrong. You’ll forgive them if they are a bit defensive when told that their nature makes them sinful and therefore separate from god.

    And you’ll forgive us nonbelievers when we get protective of laws that in our view should not be based on any one religion’s beliefs. And yet my own county government insists on starting official county meetings with a prayer to a god that I don’t believe in. I’m okay with them practicing their beliefs in the privacy of their homes and churches. I am not okay with public functions dedicating time to a god that I don’t think exists.

    My tolerance extends as far as needed to allow you to practice your religion and its traditions. It stops when you try to force your religious beliefs into the law.

  • Sadetec

    >> “Genetic condition”? So, you are comparing being gay to having Down’s Syndrome.

    Having brown hair is also a genetic condition. So is being 5′ 6” tall. And being a woman.

    Regardless of whether it is nature or nurture, homosexuality should be respected. There’s no legitimate reason not to.

  • woyaobob

    I went to Bachmann’s husband for counseling and I’m still gay. Wah! Wha!

  • enness

    If that interpretation of the scripture about God not showing partiality made any sense at all, why did He bother making women different from men at all? Why are we not unisex?

  • enness

    There are different ways to tell the truth, some better, some worse. I happen to prefer mine un-sugar-coated. So, speak for yourself.

  • enness

    I don’t even know where to start with this. As much as I would like to educate every underinformed soul on the internet, there is only one of me and it is hardly a productive use of time. You are hardly the first person to discover or examine the “Problem of Evil.” Furthermore, you are literate and apparently of age. May I suggest Catholic Answers?

  • enness

    Been a while since you cracked open a Catechism? Just a guess.

  • enness

    leibowde84, the “benefit of doubt” is still a far cry from what either commenter was talking about.

  • enness

    cricket, the view’s not so hot from here either.

    Rongo: you would be wrong. I know of quite a few adult converts, some who were canonized. One is a personal friend.

    twmatthews: we’re all predisposed to sin. Why should anybody get defensive about it, except that some prefer to cling to their pet sins?

  • enness

    leib, you’re the living picture of irony right now and don’t realize it…I hesitate to call it hypocrisy, because you really seem oblivious to the self-contradiction.

    jay, it is not primarily religion that informs me that yin-yin or yang-yang doesn’t make any sense and neither does two women or two men attempting to mate. Religion contextualizes it, but it’s plain old common sense.

  • enness

    Uh, no, Lawn, your analogy doesn’t work at all. Not eating pork is a ceremonial observance. Marriage is like gravity, you don’t have to believe in it and you don’t have to like it but it is what it is.

  • jay2drummer

    A quick Google search can show you just how easily same sex couples can mate. Now, breeding is a different story, but it’s not relevant to marriage, because breeding is not a requirement of marriage, marriage is not a requirement of breeding, and we let people get married who are exactly 0% more capable than a same sex couple to reproduce.

  • jay2drummer

    Marriage is nothing more than the very definition of a ceremonial observance there is even a ceremony that often goes along with it). Humans don’t need to marry to continue the species. In fact, monogamy is counter-productive when it comes to reproduction.