The recent supreme court ruling on homosexual marriage has ignited a firestorm surrounding whether or not a church and or minister should be required to perform a same sex wedding. Can a minister deny performing a same sex wedding on the basis of his/her faith?
The assumption is being made that Pastors marry heterosexual couples without hesitation. This is simply not the case. Any Pastor with standards and a high regard for marriage evaluates every potential marriage ceremony individually. There are multiple reasons a Pastor may excuse himself from performing a wedding. I have personally declined several. The Word of God commands individuals to not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers”. Scripture forbids a minister from marrying a Christian and a Non-believer in marriage. The first question I always have is in regards to their faith.
The issue of divorce and remarriage is also a hot topic among church leaders. This issue alone will affect the decision of many ministers in whether or not they will perform the wedding. I require three sessions of pre-marital counseling which some couples don’t want to go through. This eliminates some potential ceremonies. I have a pastor friend which requires potential spouses to take a test first to gauge how well they complement each other. There are others who want a marriage reception atmosphere (alcohol and music) which is against my standards and they find other arrangements for their ceremony.
Marriage is a sacred union that must be taken seriously. I feel it is important to note in our discussion of marriage today that the issue of heterosexual vs. homosexual may be grabbing the headlines but I for one take many, many other things into account. I have several members of our congregation which respect my high standard for marriage and while I was not able to perform their own wedding they are still a part of our church. Marriage is a divine picture of Jesus’ relationship with the Church and is not to be taken lightly even in a heterosexual ceremony.