Sunday, August 18, 2013

When Same-Sex Marriage Came to Town

We made history! That is my home county made history when our Registrar of Wills started handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of the state’s marriage laws. In doing so Montgomery County became the first in Pennsylvania to issue these licenses. Of course a court challenge has been filed with the state hoping a judge will order the county to stop until a decision is made about the constitutionality of the law. Who knows how long this could drag out in the courts? Meanwhile a number of same-sex couples have obtained licenses and a few have gotten married. What does this mean for the ministry of Christ in our area?

Up to this point I have not personally met a married same-sex couple. I have come across openly gay people including the two mommies who brought their child to an event at the neighborhood elementary school. I also once watched a sister in Christ navigate a gay parent's arrival at a birthday party. While this mom made her preference evident we all followed our host's lead, treating the visitor like any other parent. I know these are the first of many times when I will have to respond to an openly gay person. With the recent actions of our registrar I will eventually have to decide how to respond when a same-sex couple wants to show me their wedding pictures.

There are churches that stand in support of same-sex marriage but most denominations still define marriage as the union between a man and a woman. While the argument for or against same-sex marriage will continue, the bottom line is the church is above all called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to preach redemption and to deliver the message that Christ died for everyone. Are we ready to live out our faith even if doing so means loving the gay couple next door?

I believe it necessary to express a Biblical view of the meaning behind marriage. As our neighbors work to redefine the institution each of us must pray for wisdom in how we should respond. Some believers will be called to take a public stand for the true definition of marriage. All Christians will be called to share the faith. What has happened in my county may not have reached where you are but most likely it is on the way. Pray that you and your church will be ready to continue in ministry; ready for that day when same-sex marriage comes to town.