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​Response to 2015 Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

The US Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the same-sex marriage cases that are grouped as "Obergefell v. Hodges." The central issue, whether every state must allow same-sex couples to be legally married, has been answered in the affirmative.

The Wesleyan Church has long held and continues to believe that marriage is an institution created by God and must be between one man and one woman. As recently as 2004, the General Conference voted unanimously by ballot vote, affirming the Church's position that marriage is between one man and one woman. Other, even more recent affirming actions have been taken.

The United States and western culture have been undergoing a seismic shift in their perception of same-sex marriage in recent years. The church must be keenly aware of the cultural context for ministry and be willing to change, adapt, and stay relevant in matters of non-essentials. However, it must never sacrifice or compromise clear biblical truth. The church will always be a prophetic, counter-cultural voice offering Jesus Christ and his way of life and hope in exchange for the ways of the world.

The Wesleyan Church, out of love for others, works to see God's Word and his way more broadly understood and accepted in the world. We believe that God's way is better for anyone and will result in greater peace, love, joy, and hope in this life and in the life to come. However, we do not seek to have our view imposed on others, but merely be able to practice our faith with consistency and provide service to society in a way that reflects our deeply held beliefs. In the United States, the first amendment of the Constitution gives protection to religions and their adherents as they teach their beliefs, such as the conviction that same-sex marriage is not to be condoned. Even the majority opinion in the Supreme Court ruling specifically affirms those rights and those protections.

In the wake of the ruling, we continue to urge public officials and courts to uphold public justice and respect religious exercise and conscience for individuals or organizations who find themselves in conflict with legal requirements.

The church is compelled by the love of Christ to care about all people. When we function and minister, peaceably, in the context of our religious convictions that we believe are healthy, true, and according to God's plan, it is not just for ourselves. It is out of caring for everyone, including generations not yet born. When our stance becomes less popular in a society that is, in some ways, moving farther from God, love does not let us withdraw. It is out of love toward those who may think us enemies that we stand for what we genuinely believe is best for all.

Related links:

Wesleyan Discipline paragraphs regarding sexuality and same sex marriage

Marriage and religious freedom: questions and answers

Supreme Court hears historic marriage case

A Wesleyan view of gender identity and expression

A Wesleyan view of homosexuality

Pastoral letter on homosexuality