According to the recent Supreme Court decision, marriage is now simply marriage, with no need to add any further explanation or qualifier.
There isn’t a need to talk about gay marriage or lesbian marriage or even straight marriage. Marriage is marriage and legal for all adult couples interested in tying that knot of commitment throughout the entire country. It’s the law. It’s also an ongoing challenge for many faith communities who read the scriptures of their faith with an understanding that leads them to reject or question the right to marry to any couple other than one man and one woman. Theirs is but one of several possible faith responses.
I belong to a Christian tradition that is trying to hold together under the same faith tent, four possible responses to non-traditional marriage. Some members completely refuse to accept any change to marriage. Others are unsure of such change and for now reject it. A third group is also unsure but open to try, open enough to see what gifts an expanded sense of marriage might bring. And a fourth group is openly, joyously excited to see marriage extended to all loving couples. It’s a big tent filled with people who want to keep the conversation going, listening and learning from each other.
Marriage as a legal estate is now the law for any couple who so chooses. Courthouses must and will grant marriage licenses regardless of gender. And of course, some religious bodies will refuse to marry them or even perform marriages at all. So one possible solution is for our nation to adopt the European model. All marriages are granted legal status by the state.
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Churches, temples and mosques are out of the “marrying-business.” It moves religious groups back into the role they should have ... that of being in the “blessing-business” and no longer acting as agents of the state when it comes to marriage forms and licensing.
I like that. Any couple can marry. Faith communities can, as their right, bless or withhold a service of blessing as they see fit. Even now, no faith community MUST marry anyone, but CAN marry whom they choose. After 37 years of ministry and hundreds of weddings, I see no need to be a “Marrying Sam” but love the idea of being a “Blessor of Love and Commitment!”
Me? I am a group-four person all the way, joyous for all those who seek the challenge and fulfillment of marriage. Forty-three years of marriage to the person I love has convinced me that all adult couples should have the same delightful opportunity. God bless them! God bless their lives, their love, their family in the arms of a good and gracious, loving God who can bless them with or without willing communities of faith!