“….My main reason for saying this is simple: Marriage — the lifelong union between a man and woman for the sake of mutual support and, God permitting, the bearing and raising of children — is a universal human estate, bound to God’s creative and redemptive will. Regardless of the civil state’s views on the matter, the Church is bound to further and nurture this estate, and if the state provides the means for the Church to do this, however partial or confused, all the better.”
Two Protestant pastors, concerned about rapidly-changing government definitions of marriage, have started a movement encouraging priests and ministers to refuse to perform civil marriages.
Christopher Seitz and Ephraim Radner, Episcopal and Anglican pastors respectively, launched “The Marriage Pledge” at the conservative religious journal First Things on Tuesday.
“As Christian ministers we must bear clear witness,” it reads. “This is a perilous time. Divorce and co-habitation have weakened marriage. We have been too complacent in our responses to these trends. Now marriage is being fundamentally redefined, and we are being tested yet again. If we fail to take clear action, we risk falsifying God’s Word.”
The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.
Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.
Please join us in this pledge to separate civil marriage from Christian marriage by adding your name.
While the Anglican and Episcopalian communions do not have rites for a marriage ceremony between two people of the same sex, some parishes and dioceses will allow the performance of special services at the request of same-sex couples, who may or may not already be married in the eyes of the state.