Religious Groups React to Gay Marriage Rulings

Catholic, Episcopalian, Mormon, and other religious and secular officials speak out after the Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage.

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Max Rossi / REUTERS

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Moments after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense Against Marriage Act and allowed gay marriage to resume in California, religious groups across the country started to speak on the landmark civil rights case. Here’s a roundup of what eight groups had to say.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair, USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage

Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth that marriage is between a man and a woman. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to witness to this truth.

The Episcopal Church

Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church

 Today’s rulings will allow more people of all faiths to see what we in the Episcopal Church have seen for decades: Same-sex couples and their families are evidence of the goodness of God’s creation. They bless our congregations and communities immeasurably, and we have all learned from their steadfast love for one another and the evidence of God’s goodness that they show us.

We are not done yet. We will not be done until the laws of the entire land and the whole church of God recognize the dignity of every human being and the equality of all faithful couples. Today, however, we are closer to the justice God calls us to seek.

Metropolitan Community Church 

Rev. Nancy Wilson, Moderator

Freedom and equality won today as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the US Constitution and every family. Children in California now know their families will be treated equally. Today, every American is free to live in the assurance that their loved ones will receive all benefits the US gives to any other family. As the head of MCC, a global church founded on the belief that all people are created equal before God and the law, I am thrilled that the Supreme Court decided that the US Constitution applies to all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.

Interfaith Alliance

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President

The enormity of today’s decisions cannot be overstated. The combined impact of these two rulings puts our nation further down the inevitable and proper path towards full marriage equality for the LGBT community. All Americans should rejoice in today’s decisions because they bring us that much closer to fulfilling the promise of our Constitution. I am hopeful that today’s decision striking down DOMA as unconstitutional and overturning the Proposition 8 case on standing will be followed by continued victories in this fight for equality. That a majority of the Court recognized in the DOMA case that this was an issue of equal protection denied is no small victory.

Family Research Council

Tony Perkins, President

While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the court today did not impose the sweeping nationwide redefinition of natural marriage that was sought. Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage.’ As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify.

What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father.

Coalition of African-American Pastors

Rev. William Owens, President

We are devastated that the Supreme Court succumbed to political pressure by voting to weaken the sacred institution. They neglected our most precious children who need a mother and a father united in marriage for healthy development. The African-American community has already been plagued with problems related to children growing up in single parent households. This ruling will only accelerate the further erosion of our communities and society.

But we will not give up on marriage as the solid social institution recognized by cultures worldwide. It is time for African-Americans and the Christian community to rise up and renew their efforts to protect marriage and strengthen the families in their communities. African-Americans pay a disproportionate price as collateral damage of the aggressive gay agenda, and it will take leaders across the country to resist the cultural shift on marriage.

Secular Coalition for America

Edwina Rogers, Executive Director

Efforts to restrict same-sex couples from access to civil marriage are blatant attempts to insert religious beliefs into our secular government. We applaud the Court’s decision on DOMA and Proposition 8, but we recognize there is still a lot of work to be done throughout the country in ensuring that marriage equality is the rule for all.

The decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 are very big and important battles won in a long war—despite the Court’s ruling, in states across the country same-sex couples are still denied civil marriages based on religious ideology. Laws like these treat same-sex couples inequitably and fly in the face of the very freedoms our Constitution provides us. The fight now turns to the states that refuse to treat same-sex couples equitably.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens. In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved. Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three fourths of the states.