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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM)

Part C:
Different views on SSM and marriage equality:

4. Comparing opposing beliefs about SSM
among Christian and secular groups.

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"LGBT" is an acronym referring to the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.
"SSM" is an acronym referring to marriage by same-sex couples.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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Beliefs about marriage equality by conservative Christian groups:

  • Freedom Foundation is a religious coalition:

During 2013-AUG, the Freedom Foundation -- a coalition of conservative Christian parachurch groups -- issued an eloquent statement explaining why they oppose marriage equality. They said, in part:

"On the matter of marriage, we stand in solidarity. As a nation we have lost our moral compass. As a result, we are losing true freedom. We affirm together that there is a moral basis to a free society. Though we live in a secular society, together we reject relativism and secularism.

We affirm that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society; he first church, first school, first hospital, first economy, first government and first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.

Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by religion or civil government. It precedes both. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by our faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason. ..."

"We pledge to stand together to defend marriage for what it is, a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children." 1

  • The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is an organization whose sole purpose is to prohibit marriage for same-sex couples everywhere in the U.S. Their Education Fund sponsored a petition by the public to the Justices of the United States Supreme Court during early 2013 when the court was considering two cases. One was Wilson v. United States which was attempting to have the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) declared unconstitutional. The other was Hollingsworth v. Perry which was attempting to have Proposition 8 in California declared unconstitutional. On 2013-JUN-26, the Court declared Section 3 of DOMA and Prop. 8 to be unconstitutional, and thereby gave a major boost to marriage equality across the country.

    In the following petition, the term "marriage" refers only to the marriage of one woman to one man. The term "defending marriage" means to work towards banning all marriages by two women or two men:

    "The Petition:

    To The Justices of the United States Supreme Court:

    I proudly STAND FOR MARRIAGE because:

    It is the unique and special union of one man and one woman, uniting husband and wife to each other and to their children;

    It is the fundamental unit of our nation and culture, the primary building block upon which every society is founded;

    It is the healthiest and best environment for children to be raised in, because every child has the right to both a mother and a father;

    I therefore SUPPORT:

    The rights of citizens and communities to organize, speak, donate and otherwise act on its behalf;

    The rights of voters, including the more than 50 million Americans in three dozen states that have cast ballots in support of marriage;

    The religious liberties of all Americans, including persons of faith and their faith communities to defend, protect, and promote it;

    The preservation of marriage in law and in culture for the good of men, women, children, and society at large.

    And I firmly PLEDGE:

    My unwavering commitment to continue defending marriage, whenever and wherever it is threatened, in whatever ways I have the means to do, along with men and women of good will of every race and creed, with God and history on our side. 

    And I CALL ON:

    The United States Supreme Court to exercise judicial restraint, resist the call of political activists to legislate from the bench, and respect the right of the people of America to decide this issue themselves within the democratic process." 2

    NOM also has a petition to support the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment, which is a bill in Congress intended to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage for all same-sex couples. The petition also asks Congressmembers to oppose any efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) whose remaining sections remain in force after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 to be unconstitutional. The petition says in part:

    "The institution of marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman that has served as the foundation for society across all cultures and throughout history, and is undeniably the environment that is best for raising children. Every child deserves a mother and a father and marriage is the way society encourages that ideal by protecting and defining marriage in law as the unique union of one man and one woman.

    But with the Supreme Court's decision on June 26 in the Windsor (DOMA) case, the seeds for redefining marriage have been planted. Marriage is too important to be left in the hands of activist judges. The federal government has the authority and responsibility to define and protect marriage." 3

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Beliefs about marriage equality by a liberal Christian and a secular group:

  • The United Church of Canada was one of the first Christian denominations in the world to accept and promote marriage for same-sex couples. In 2003, at their 38th General Council the church published a document:

    " ' Of Love and Justice: Toward the Civil Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage,' a congregational guide for study and action, is a response to the resolutions passed at the 37th General Council, which called on the church to affirm lesbian and gay partnerships and to work for their civil recognition, and to recognize them in church documentation and services of blessing."

    The church also took ... [some] actions:

    "In February 2003, in a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in response to the Department of Justice Discussion Paper Marriage and Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Unions, The United Church of Canada suggested that the federal government adopt a legislative framework that provides the same civil recognition for heterosexual and homosexual couples. ..."

  • "At the 38th General Council, The United Church of Canada resolved to call on the Government of Canada to recognize same-sex marriage in the marriage legislation." 4

In a ... Globe and Mail column on the subject of same-sex marriage, former Moderator [of the United Church of Canada] Lois Wilson acknowledges how difficult this matter is for many:

    "I am 76 years old and was raised in a Canada that told me homosexuality was wrong. It took me years to work through the issue, assisted by many colleagues, including gays and lesbians whom I knew and respected as persons before I ever knew they were gay or lesbian. Our faith communities have the capacity to walk with people who differ. Society needs that example." 5

  • The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) believes:

    "... that marriage bans like the one in Virginia cause direct harm to gay and lesbian couples and the children they are raising, and there is no reason to deny these loving couples the equality and freedom they are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The other side, by contrast, continues to rely on outdated notions of what makes a family and why marriage matters in our society." 6

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "We Stand in Solidarity to Defend Marriage and the Family and Society Founded Upon Them," Freedom Foundation, 2013-AUG-13, at:
  2. "Petition to the Justices of the Supreme Court," Act Right, 2013-MAR, at:
  3. "Action Alert: Support the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment!," National Organization for Marriage, undated, at:
  4. "Marriage: Chronology of Marriage and Equality Rights in the United Church," The United Church of Canada, 2012-NOV-16, at:
  5. Very Rev. Dr. Peter Short, "Commentary regarding same-sex marriage from Jim Sinclair and Peter Short," The United Church of Canada, 2003-PCT-08, at:
  6. "Couples in Virginia head to federal court for marriage equality," AFER, 2014-JAN-22, at:

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Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Different views on SSM > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-JAN-29
Latest update: 2014-MAR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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