This article shows that a few churches within the institutional Church are beginning to see the injustice of witnessing the marriage of heterosexuals and refusing to witness the marriage of Gay people!
"'We are looking at the function of our church in marriage ceremonies,' says Anita Hill, a pastor at Saint Paul-Reformation. 'Is it just to get it done in a pretty place? We're not in the wedding business; we're in the blessing business.'"
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all clergy and professing Christians saw their role as being a blessing to people; being agents of God's grace in this world? Wouldn't it be wonderful if churches were truly houses of worship that welcomed everyone as they are, without hateful and exclusionary rhetoric and/or actions in any way considered appropriate or Godly?
The fact that "Minneapolis has the country's third-largest concentration of same-sex couples, according to census data" certainly puts pressure on surrounding churches to at the very least come to grips with the profound injustice visited upon Gay couples who seek to make a lifetime commitment to each other; who deserve the same civil and sacramental rights that accrue to heterosexual couples. This state of affairs shows how much visibility of same-sex couples' desire for the right to marry can impact churches and other houses of worship; shows how same-sex couples demanding from churches the right to be married in those churches, even without state sanctioned approval, can go a long way in making same-sex marriage a reality in both religious and secular society.
Even "liberal" churches within the institutional Church are usually quite conservative by most standards of assessment and, as I wrote in last Tuesday's post, they are usually handmaidens of the State, whereby most support and justify the status quo, whether or not that status quo entails the oppression of others. However, when same-sex couples, whether by their numbers, as occurs in Minneapolis, or by their continuous insistence on being treated equally in the area of marriage rights, the churches are, and will be, forced to at the very least discuss and confront the issue of same-sex marriage.
Imagine the impact same-sex couples and allies would have on churches if they continuously insisted, through speaking out, picketing, and writing letters, that they be married in those churches! Imagine the impact same-sex couples would have if they and their allies continuously picketed marriage license bureaus insisting that they be given the same right to marry as heterosexual citizens.
As I've written many times before, marriage is crucial for full and equal civil rights to accrue to Gay people, as once that right is approved, virtually all other civil and sacramental rights will be won; the legitimacy of Gay people will be recognized, with the conferring of dignity and full equality being part and parcel of that legitimacy.
So, whether or not any Gay person wants to get married, it is imperative that all Gay people and allies demand marriage rights, both for the well-being of those who do want to marry, as well as for the realization of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for all Gay people!