We celebrate today’s Supreme Court ruling with our gay brothers and sisters who wish to marry and have their marriages recognized nationwide, with denominations and congregations that have authorized and now are affirmed in continuing to perform same-gender marriages, and with the clergy who have sought to officiate these weddings as a matter of faith.
At the same time, we recognize that this continues to be a difficult and complex issue for many people of faith. So we would reiterate that this ruling does not force people to change their personal beliefs, and the decision about performing marriage ceremonies, whether for straight or gay couples, remains at the discretion of clergy, congregations, and denominations.
When the N.C. Council of Churches spoke on issues of homosexuality in 1992, it was to oppose “violence, harassment, and discrimination because of sexual orientation.” When our Board voted in 2004 to formally oppose constitutional bans on same-gender marriage, it was out of the conviction that foundational documents should not be used to “enshrine” discrimination. More than a decade later, we look forward to a time when this issue loses its divisive edge and becomes a place defined by grace, respect, and love.