Recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality
Part 24: Alabama:
Anti-SSM demonstration at State Capitol (Cont'd)
2nd presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
ratifies a same-sex marriage resolution.
Chief Justice Moore comments further on SSM.
In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. Also, "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community.
PC(USA) refers to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
2015-FEB-21: Excerpts from speeches given at the state capital anti-SSM demonstration:
- Representative Will Ainsworth (R) said:
"Marriage is an institution created and ordained by God, and I want to be real clear on this. It's not created by man, its' not created by government, and it certainly isn't created by an activist federal judge. The Declaration of Independence says that our rights our endowed by our Creator, that the freedom of independence is entitled by the laws of nature, and nature’s God. I believe that the Creator, and this document, is the God that we as Christians pray to and worship everyday."
- Colonel John Eidsmoe, of the group Foundation for Moral Law said:
"Now we hear outrage today how Chief Justice Moore defied a federal order, an order of a federal judge. I suggest to you that Judge Granade defied the Alabama Constitution. I suggest that she also defied the people of Alabama, eighty-one percent of whom voted for the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment in 2006."
- Pastor Aaron Motley, the pastor and founder of Miracle Deliverance Temple of Christ, Inc. in Montgomery, AL said:
"Civil rights and gay rights cannot be compared because they are two distinct categories, and they are two distinct classifications. One seeks to protect our rights as human beings under the U.S. Constitution and moral laws, and the other seeks the acceptance of a perverted lifestyle. In fact, it is an insult to those who struggle, bled, and died for our freedoms, only to destroy all the hopes and dreams of building a nation of strong families, strong churches, strong schools and businesses. The gay agenda is designed to undermine all the that the civil rights movement set out to do.
Sin is our real problem. All have sinned and it is what has caused us to make some poor decisions. There are two paths of life set before us; one is the straight and the narrow, that is the straight and narrow path that leads us to eternal life, and the Bible says that there will be few who find that path. Then there is the broad road, that leads to destruction, and it says that many will go down that path."
2015-FEB-21: A second Alabama presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) considers and passes the 2014 same-sex marriage resolution.
Thirty congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA) form the denomination's Presbytery of North Alabama. It is one of about 272 presbyteries across the U.S. Delagates from each of these congregations met at the First Presbyterian Church in Florence, AL. They discussed and voted upon a series of eight proposed amendments passed by the denomination's General Assembly last year. Perhaps the most important to the future of the denomination involves the re-definition of marriage in their Book of Order. This was the same amendment that was passed earlier in the month by the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley in central Alabama. Each of the PC(USA)'s presbyterys has been asked to vote on this amendment sometime during the first five months of 2015.
Like all mainline denominations in the U.S., the PC(USA) is currently faced with a major challenge. Many of its older members are unalterably opposed to recognizing marriages of same-sex couples. There have been many members and congregations who have left the denomination because it was becoming more accepting of their LGBT members. But the denomination has also been losing many older teens and young adults because their Book of Order's definition of marriage does not recognize the relationships and marriages of same-sex couples. Much of the denomination's financial support comes from older members. Yet, their future lies with the youth in the church, many of who are not comfortable with the denomination's stand on LGBT matters. other human sexuality topics, on other scientific topics. etc.
During mid-2014, the General Assembly voted to take the next step towards equal treatment of their LGBT members by changing the denominations definition of marriage and by allowing their clergy the freedom to choose whether or not to marry same-sex couples. The current definition of marriage is:
"... a civil contract between a woman and a man."
Delegates voted 429 to 175 in favor of rewording the Book of Order to state that:
"Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives." 1
This change has been sent to each of the Church's 172 presbyteries for discussion and a vote.
Representatives to the meeting of the Presbytery of North Alabama voted 28 to 24 in favor of ratifying the amendment. This was much narrower margin than the vote taken previously by the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, presumably because the folks in northern Alabama are generally more conservative than in mid-Alabama. The Presbytery of North Alabama became the 57th presbytery to pass the resolution. A total of 87 presbyeries must vote in favor, in order to ratify the change.
The PC(USA) web site has a map of the U.S. showing which presbyteries have voted "Yes," have voted "No," or have not yet voted. 1 It also has a link to a page showing the tally of results. The Presbytery of Northern Alabama was approximately the 39th presbytery to pass the revision out of about 53 that have voted to date.
Kay Campbell, writing for AL.com, said:
"Rev. Tom Lovell, head of the staff at Faith Presbyterian Church in Huntsville and also moderator of the Presbytery meeting, prayed for a unity that goes deeper than those opinions."
'We are different minds on this topic, but we pray that we are of the same heart, We pray that we recognize and respect one another's opinions in a way that brings glory to you." 2
2015-FEB-21: Chief Justice Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court comments further on same-sex marriage (SSM):
Kim Chandler of the Montgomery Advertiser wrote an article about Chief Justice Moore's actions and statements:
- Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said:
"Freedom to marry has won. Roy Moore's actions have made us look like the most homophobic state in the nation." 3
The SPLC has filed an ethics complaint against Chief Justice Moore.
- Moore discussed the impact of persons with a bisexual orientation or a transgender gender identity upon marriage in the U.S. if same-sex couples are allowed to marry. He is quoted as saying:
"You're taking any definition of a family away. When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family? Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?
Moore appears to be concerned about the long-range effects on American culture if same-sex couples are allowed to marry . Some religious and social conservatives have raised the question of whether the legalization of same-sex marriage in Alabama will lead to people marrying their dogs or cats. This fear seems to be groundless because the marriage law in every state restricts marriage to two human beings. There is little or no probability that this limitation will change in forseeable future. Moore appears to be confused over the nature of sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to the vast majorit of experts in human sexuality:
- About 90% of adults have discovered -- typically about the time of puberty -- that they have a heterosexual orientation; they are sexually attracted only to some of the world's approximately two billion adults of the opposite sex and not to any adults of the same sex.
- About 5% of adults have discovered that they have have a homosexual orientation; they are sexually attracted only to some of the world's two billion persons of the same sex and not to any of the opposite sex.
- About 5% of adults have discovered that they have a bisexual orientation; they are sexually attracted to some members of the four billion adult women and men in the world. Most bisexuals are attracted to one gender more than another.
- Sexual orientation is not chosen nor is it changeable.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Discernment and engagement: Marriage -- Information and Resources," PC(USA), at: http://oga.pcusa.org/
- Kay Campbell, "North Alabama Presbyterians narrowly OK same-sex marriages," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-21, at: http://www.al.com/
- Kim Chandler, "Roy Moore says he has no regrets over gay marriage stance," Montgomery Advertiser, 2015-FEB-21, at: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2015-FEB-22
Latest update: 2015-MAR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson