The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline (2004) states, “We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We believe that God’s blessing rests upon such marriage, whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” (Emphasis mine, par. 161.C.)
You may have read that our annual conference (the California-Pacific Conference) disagrees with the Book of Discipline and voted recently to oppose the so-called “Marriage Amendment” on the ballot in California in November. So I am going against the majority of clergy and lay delegates to annual conference when I say that I think it is very important that Proposition 8 (the “Marriage Amendment”) passes on November 4th. In many respects, this is more important than who we select for president!
I believe this is important because at no time in history has marriage ever been defined as anything other than the union between the genders. When we broaden that definition to include unions of same-gendered persons we run the risk of destroying marriage itself. What’s to keep us from allowing the marriage of a brother and sister (as long as they plan to have no children, why not?)? The Scriptures and the Tradition of the church clearly disallow same-gender marriage. And yet, in little less than 20 years of public debate, we have reversed centuries of historic wisdom, both secular and religious. I’m thinking that we need to consider this some more!
I am willing to have “domestic partnerships” with legal standing in civil society. But if the State Supreme Court’s ruling (striking down the law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman) is allowed to stand, the state could very well force the churches to not only recognize same-gender marriages, but to perform same-gender weddings as well. And if a preacher were to speak out against it (even from the pulpit), he or she might be subject to arrest for “hate crimes!” This kind of think is already happening in Canada. If California does not reverse the State Supreme Court’s ruling, it will have a detrimental effect on the rest of the United States as far as resisting this band wagon of same-gender marriage.
I will be working to support the passage of Proposition 8 on the November 4th ballot. If you would like to get involved, check out http://www.protectmarriagesd.com/ on the internet or call (619) 660-5000 to see how you can get involved.