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Religious Tolerance logo

Recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality

Part 19: Alabama: 2015-FEB:
Editorial in The Plain Dealer. Reader comments.
1st Alabama same-sex marriage by SBC pastor!

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In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. Also, "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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LGBT symbol 2015-FEB-13: The Editorial Board of The Plain Dealer newspaper comments on the Alabama SSM situation:

They wrote:

"Today, if America's anti-gay bigots and diehards aren't thanking God for Roy Moore, perhaps they should, given Moore's attempted defiance of a federal judge's order clearing the way for same-sex marriage in Alabama. By ordering Alabama probate judges (who, incidentally, need not be lawyers) to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Moore is demonstrating contempt for the rule of law, something he's sworn to uphold. That is, Moore is treating as a nullity a ruling by a U.S. District judge for Southern Alabama (an appointee of George W. Bush) that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Alabama.

Commendably, a number of Alabama Probate judges are ignoring Moore and obeying the District Court. ..."

"Roy Moore can't reverse the social currents in American life. But what his grandstanding can do, and will do, and not just in Alabama, is inspire others to treat court orders as suggestions rather than mandates. And that's a prescription for anarchy. 1

, posted a comment:

Leaving aside the 'issue'...if the editors want civil postings on line in the comment section, then the editors need to stop with their own inflammatory language.  To write ***America's anti-gay bigots***, as if anyone who opposes same sex marriage is a bigot is wrong.

There are many who oppose it, and they are not bigots.  They believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.  And they outnumber those who think otherwise. ..." 1

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Webmaster's comment (bias alert):

I posted a response to Carol Bannon's comment, saying:

"Your posting raises an interesting point. The current debate over same-sex marriage is the fourth time that a restriction to marriage has been lifted in the U.S. The first happened in the mid 19th Century after the Civil War when former slaves were allowed to freely marry. The second happened in the early 20th Century when profoundly deaf couples were allowed to marry in all states. The third happened in 1967 when a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia allowed interracial couples to marry across the U.S. The fourth and most recent concerns same-sex couples marrying.

If a person today were to advocate that black couples, or deaf persons should not be allowed to marry, it seems to me that many people would feel confident calling them a bigot, even if the person's beliefs are sincerely held. I feel relatively confident that anyone today who is opposed to interracial marriage almost 5 decades/2 generations after Loving v. Virginia would also be widely consider a racial bigot. But I am not certain about same-sex marriage.

Can the term 'bigot' only be applied some number of decades after a restriction on marriage is overcome? Or can 'bigot' be used when a simple majority of American adults do not support such a restriction? (National surveys show that about 55% of American adults support same-sex marriage while about 38% remain opposed). Or is there some other criteria?

I just don't know." 1

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2014-SEP to 2015-FEB-13: About the first marriage by a same-sex couple in Alabama on FEB-09:

During 2013-SEP, Rev. Dr. David Freeman, the senior pastor of Weatherly Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL, preached a sermon, giving his personal opinion on marriage equality. He stated in part:

"While I respect the struggle many Alabamians have with the decisions of the federal courts, I believe the decision to permit same sex couples to marry is right.  It is just.  It does not conflict with any teaching of Jesus. It does not conflict with other teachings of the Bible, which, in my opinion, do not address adult, loving, monogamous same sex relationships. The church has been wrong on some big issues. It was wrong about slavery. It was wrong about the role of women in the church. I believe this is another case where the church has been wrong on a big issue." 2 

Some people and groups in the Huntsville area organized "Wedding Week" which started on FEB-09. It was the first week that same-sex couples were able to obtain a wedding license and subsequenetly marry in Alabama.

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Rev. Dr. Ellin Jimmerson is a "minister to the community" at the same Huntsville church. She had written an entry on her Facebook page that she directed to other Christian clergy and to other Christians. She wrote:

"One of the issues for many is whether same sex marriages comport with biblical ideas of marriages. The truth is that people in the 21st century would not be comfortable with the kinds of marriages which are represented in the Bible. For example, we would not be comfortable with the biblical model that is one man, one woman, one concubine. Nor would we be comfortable with the idea of a widow being compelled to marry her brother-in-law. There is very little in the Bible which reflects the modern idea of one man & one woman united by love. That is where we have been comfortable for a long time now.

Today, we are being asked to move even further down the road of marriages being based on love. We are being asked to expand our ideas to include one man and another man united in marriage by love [and] of one woman and another woman united by love.

It was not too many years ago that we in Alabama at last understood that the long-held ban on interracial marriages was hurtful and wrong. We moved further down the road of love. Now, most of us think nothing of interracial marriages.

On Monday, Feb. 9, the state of Alabama will move as a people even further down the road of love as the only legitimate basis for marriage. We as a people will recognize that God truly does love us all.

However, in the spirit of Governor Wallace standing in the school house door, the probate judges in Madison and surrounding counties have announced they no longer will perform any marriage ceremonies.

This means that same sex couples, many of whom have no pastor because they have not been welcome in their own churches, would have had nowhere to turn had it not been for the good people who have organized "Wedding Week."

During the week of Feb. 9, a number of ministers have volunteered to officiate at marriage ceremonies for whoever needs one. There has been a wonderful show of support for couples, many of whom have waited years or even decades to have their relationship solemnized by way of license and ceremony, from people offering wedding gowns, cupcakes, bubbles, and photography. So many people want to celebrate with people who have waited too long.

I have been invited to officiate at the first ceremony and to offer a short inspirational homily to those gathered in downtown Huntsville Monday morning. I am deeply touched by the invitation and have agreed enthusiastically.

I want to invite everyone who will to celebrate with the couples who have waited so long for this day.

'To God be the glory'!" 3 

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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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. Editorial Board, "Justice Moore in Alabama needs to follow court's order on same-sex marriage, not publicity's dictates," The Plain Dealer, 2015-FEB-13, at: http://www.cleveland.com/
  2. Kay Campbell, "First - and last - Southern Baptist minister for gay weddings? SBC leaders censure Huntsville church," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-08, at: http://www.al.com/living/
  3. Leada Gore, "Baptist minister explains why she will be performing the first same-sex marriage ceremony in Huntsville," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-08, at: http://www.al.com/

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    Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Alabama > here

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2015-FEB-14
Latest update: 2015-FEB-14
Author: B.A. Robinson
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