Yesterday was the first Sunday since the June 26th Supreme Court ruling affirming that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Similar to the tight 5-4 Court decision, religious sects and congregations find themselves split down the middle.
Many conservative churches are appalled by the Court’s decision. Southern Baptists struggle with their new status as a “moral minority” when it comes to marriage.
Despite his church’s stance on the subject, Rev. Robert Jefress of First Baptist Dallas is staying positive. “This is a great opportunity for our church to share the truth and love of Jesus Christ and we are going to do it.”
Others individuals aren’t so forgiving. “Is there such a thing as morality anymore?” asks Roy More, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
US Supreme Court dissenters Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia worry what the ruling might mean for faith-based charities, hospitals, and schools that hire and fire employees based on their religious beliefs.
On the other side of this rainbow-bedecked fence is a country full of celebration. “In one decision we’ve swiftly moved people from being second-class citizens to first-class,” says Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, one of many liberal churches across the nation who came together yesterday to celebrate.
Evangelical Protestants are split almost evenly. While some celebrate “a major step towards justice and equality,” others see the Court’s decision as an example of “depravity” and “degradation.”
According to a recent survey, just over 50% of Evangelical Protestants oppose gay marriage. That stat is slowly changing, however, thanks to young Protestants with gay friends who don’t see gay marriage as central to their religion.
Rev. Donald Jenkins of St. Paul United Methodist Church in North Carolina finds himself dealing with a split congregation. His refreshingly level-headed opinion: “It’s just something that we’re going to have to look into, figure out as we go along, how we’re going to deal with it.”
The Catholic story is a little more complicated. With over 50% of Roman Catholics in support of gay marriage, leaders struggle to keep followers faithful while US Bishops seek legal protection for individuals who oppose same-sex marriage.