Modern marriage is both a religious and a civil institution. Muddying the differences between them contributes significantly to the acrimony in debates and political struggles over civil marriage for same – sex couples. In much of Europe, the distinction is clear – churches conduct religious marriages, the state conducts civil marriage. To obtain recognition by both church and state, couples go through two distinct ceremonies.
In Kentucky, one church is applying the same principle, to ensure it can avoid any form of discrimination against any of the couple it serves. It will conduct marriage ceremonies for both opposite sex and same sex couples – but only religious ceremonies. As Kentucky law prohibits the recognition of same sex marriages, the church is not permitted to sign marriage licences for gay or lesbian couples, it will no longer do so for heterosexual couples.
A Highlands church has voted to stop signing marriage licenses in protest of the state of Kentucky’s denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Douglass Boulevard Christian Church made the unanimous vote Sunday. The Rev. Derek Penwell, senior minister of the church, said it’s unjust that heterosexual but not homosexual couples can benefit from marital rights involving inheritance, adoption, hospital visits and filing joint tax returns, saving thousands in annual taxes.
“Our congregation believes it is unfair to provide different services and benefits to heterosexual couples than we can provide to gay and lesbian couples,” said a church associate minister, the Rev. Ryan Kemp-Pappan.
- 10 Years of Gay Marriage (queeringthechurch.com)
- Civil Partnerships and Marriage: comment (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- Responding to Bishop Tobin’s Remarks on Gay Marriage (thewildreed.blogspot.com)
- Jonathan Capehart: “Catholics Lead the Way on Same-Sex Marriage” (thewildreed.blogspot.com)