Home Daily Buzz Major Religions and Denominations Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Major Religions and Denominations Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Official denominational statements released as a result of the Obergefell et al. v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage vary widely, but few have been silent on the issue. Almost immediately after the SCOTUS ruling, more than 100 church leaders signed an Evangelical Declaration of Marriage developed by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The declaration affirms “the Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman” and “evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift.” Signers include J.I. Packer, Tony Evans, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, Alistair Begg, Bryan Chapell, D.A. Carson, David Jeremiah, David Platt, Dennis Rainey, H.B. Charles, Jr., James MacDonald, J.D. Greear, Kevin DeYoung, Mark Dever, Matt Chandler, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Albert Mohler, Randy Alcorn, Russell Moore and many others.

Major religions have made formal statements about where they stand on same-sex marriage According to Pew Research, those who formally sanction same-sex marriage include:

  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Conservative Jewish Movement
  • Reform Jewish Movement
  • Society of Friends (Quaker)
  • Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches
  • United Church of Christ (each congregation may adopt or reject the recommendations of the General Synod)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Episcopal Church (sanctions blessing of same-sex unions)

Religions that formally prohibit same-sex marriages include:

  • American Baptist Churches
  • Anglican Churches of North America
  • Assemblies of God
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Islam (homosexuality is a crime in many Islamic countries)
  • Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
  • Orthodox Jewish Movement
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • Seventh-Day Adventists
  • United Methodist Church

Buddhism and Hinduism have no clear position on the matter.

Representatives from the various denominations and church leaders’ reactions to Supreme Court marriage decision have also been varied.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision to require all states to license and recognize same-sex marriage “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us. … 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.”

George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, declared, “I am deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s actions today in Obergefell v. Hodges. What the Court can make legal, they cannot make moral. … The Assemblies of God will continue to remain firmly committed to the understanding of marriage between one man and one woman—a belief founded in scripture that no court can alter.”

The Archbishop and Bishops of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) expressed in a press release, “While this decision grieves us, God’s truth and the goodness of the order established in creation have not been changed. The kingdom of God cannot be shaken. … We cannot accept the Supreme Court’s decision purporting to find a fundamental right to same-sex ‘marriage’ any more than we can accept its claim to have found a right to destroy human life. We will work with others to overturn this decision, and we pray that others will join with us in this effort.”

United Methodist Bishop Lindsey Davis of the Kentucky Annual Conference responded, “While I am personally disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to alter the government’s definition of marriage to include same-gender couples, their decision is not much of a surprise. … I remain hopeful that the United Methodist Church will remain faithful to the biblical understanding that marriage is a lifetime covenant between a man and a woman.”

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori released an official statement declaring, “I rejoice that the Supreme Court has opened the way for the love of two people to be recognized by all the states of this Union, and that the Court has recognized that it is this enduring, humble love that extends beyond the grave that is to be treasured by society wherever it exists. … Our society will be enriched by the public recognition of such enduring faithful love in families headed by two men or two women as well as by a woman and a man.  The children of this land will be stronger when they grow up in families that cannot be unmade by prejudice or discrimination.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons celebrated the decision: “The PC(USA) has advocated for almost four decades for civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is in keeping with that work.”



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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.