The Supreme Court decision to officially legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states has raised questions among religious congregations about what the ruling means to their faith.
Many religious organizations were quick to speak out on the ruling, some to reaffirm their doctrines concerning marriage, and some to lend their support to the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
President R. Albert Mohler Jr.
The threat to religious liberty represented by this decision is clear, present, and inevitable. Assurances to the contrary, the majority in this decision has placed every religious institution in legal jeopardy if that institution intends to uphold its theological convictions limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman. This threat is extended to every religious citizen or congregation that would uphold the convictions held by believers for millennia.
The United Methodist Church
Heather Hahn, United Methodist News Service
The people of the United Methodist Church
What the rulings do not change, Coyner and others noted, is The United Methodist Church’s definition of marriage.
The Book of Discipline, the global denomination’s law book, affirms “the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman.”
Since 1972, the book has stated that all people are of sacred worth, but “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
The Book of Discipline also says, “Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due to all persons” and commits the church to supporting “those rights and liberties for all persons regardless of sexual orientation.”
Nevertheless, church law bans United Methodist clergy from performing, and churches from hosting, “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions.”
However, the Connectional Table, a church leadership, is drafting legislation that, if passed by the top United Methodist law-making assembly, would allow clergy to perform same-sex marriages and would allow homosexual individuals to join the clergy.
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
“In response to the decisions announced today by the United States Supreme Court with reference to the issue of legal recognition of same sex marriage, we reiterate the historical position of the Jewish faith, enunciated unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud and Codes, which forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages. Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Our beliefs in this regard are unalterable. At the same time, we note that Judaism teaches respect for others and we condemn discrimination against individuals.”
“Jewish tradition reminds us that we were all created equally, b’tzelem Elohim, in the ‘image of God’ (Genesis 1:27), and also shows us that marriage is a sacred responsibility, not only between the partners, but also between the couple and the larger community. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court upholds equality and the sacred commitment of marriage for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. As Justice Kennedy wrote, ‘No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.’ As the Torah teaches, ‘It is not good for a person to be alone’ (Genesis 2:18).
“Our Movement recognizes and supports same-sex marriages as well as opposite-sex marriages, and therefore celebrates today’s ruling by the Supreme Court.”
Hindu American Foundation
“Today is a great day for all Americans who will have the dignity of marriage, regardless of where they live or who they love,” noted Harsh Voruganti, HAF’s Associate Director of Public Policy. “The Supreme Court’s decision reinforces HAF’s stance throughout this case: that the Constitution does not permit governments to deny marriage to same sex couples.”