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KIM LAWTON, correspondent: Hours after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decisions were announced, people of faith gathered at Washington’s National Cathedral for a prayer service of thanksgiving and celebration.

REV. GARY HALL (Washington National Cathedral): Today's Supreme Court rulings announce a new era for our country. It's an era in which married gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Americans can finally enjoy the same federal recognition and protection that our laws have for so long extended to their fellow citizens.

LAWTON: But for religious opponents of gay marriage, it was a day of disappointment.

Russell Moore

RUSSELL MOORE (Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission): Our churches are going to have to be ready to live in a world in which we cannot simply assume a definition of marriage and family.

LAWTON: According to the Pew Research Center, support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage continues to grow, including among religious Americans. About half of Catholics and white mainline Protestants now say they support gay marriage. But 42 percent of all Americans are still opposed to it, and much of the strongest opposition is rooted in religion. The vast majority of white evangelicals and black Protestants remain firmly against allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

Rev. Dennis Wiley of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ is one of growing numbers of clergy who support gay marriage as a matter of justice.

REV. DENNIS WILEY (Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ): Straight people of faith like myself and others who have fought and continued to fight as allies and advocates alongside our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters have been vindicated for our steadfast and unwavering support of marriage equality.

LAWTON: National Cathedral Dean Gary Hall announced in January that the cathedral would welcome the celebration of same-sex weddings.

Rev. Gary Hall

HALL: I think there's a good biblical case to be made that God made human beings in God's image and blessed human beings and pronounced us good. So, whoever we are in our sexual orientation, we are good. And therefore the church needs also to make the same tools for living that have been historically available to heterosexual couples available to homosexual couples as well.

LAWTON: Hall acknowledges that many mainline Protestant denominations are still wrestling over the issue. Although his own denomination, The Episcopal Church has approved rites to bless same-sex unions that can be adapted to use in weddings, it officially still defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Meanwhile, religious opponents of gay marriage say no Court decision or poll numbers will sway their position.

MOORE: We don’t believe that the state created marriage. Marriage did not come about through a legislative act or through court edict, so no government bureaucrat or no Supreme Court justice has the authority to re-define marriage. Marriage is designed by God and embedded in nature and is beyond the reach of the state.

LAWTON: Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He says he’s concerned about where the Court’s decisions may lead.

MOORE: All of us agree that there are limits on how we define marriage. All of us right now in American culture agree that a marriage is limited to two people. All of us agree that marriage is a voluntary arrangement. We all agree on certain limitations with marriage. The question is, what now? What does this mean?

LAWTON: He and many other conservatives believe the rulings will burden the religious liberty of those who oppose gay marriage. Kim Daniels is an attorney and spokesperson for the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Kim Daniels

KIM DANIELS (US Conference of Catholic Bishops): It could lead to the loss of government contracts and benefits for those who uphold the truth of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It could lead to the loss of professional licensing or institutional accreditation. People could face anti-discrimination suits because they refuse to give up their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

LAWTON: But, she says, the battle isn’t over.

DANIELS: This has really energized the movement for marriage redefinition, and at the same time it's energized those of us who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of their children, is an important part of the common good of our country. And I know that we'll continue to contribute to this conversation, because Catholics witness to the joy of our teachings on marriage and family, and that’s something we'll continue to do.

LAWTON: Moore says he’s urging his community to take the long view.

MOORE: We need to be winsome, prophetic, speak to the outside culture and loving in persuasive ways and also train up countercultural communities that honor marriage and keep our marriages together and cultivate healthy marriages in the future.

LAWTON: Religious advocates of same-sex marriage are also promising to ramp up their grassroots efforts.

HALL: I think the faith community can do a lot of work state by state to advance marriage equality, and I would also like to see gay and lesbian folks in their own congregations come forward and press their faith communities to extend marriage equality themselves.

LAWTON: Given the depth of feelings on both sides, the conversation will continue for a long time to come.

Religious Reaction to Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

“This has energized the movement for marriage redefinition, and at the same time it’s energized those of us who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of their children,” said Kim Daniels, an attorney and a spokeswoman for the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Harveyg

    “RUSSELL MOORE (Ethics & Religious Liberty
    Commission): Our churches are going to have to be ready to live in a
    world in which we cannot simply assume a definition of marriage and
    family.

    Mr. Moore, you are being obnoxious as well as disingenuous: The definition of marriage has NOT changed: it is a promise between two people to love, honor and respect each other until death. That is not, of course, the definition you want to hear but it is a definition everyone can understand and everyone should be able to live with. Who the parties are who have made this promise has no bearing outside of the church and, since the government has made .marriage a legal bond, the church can have nothing but an opinion on the subject. Laws trump opinions!

    The same goes for the definition of a “family” — again not what you want to hear but we are ALL entitled to an opinion.

  • hphour

    but why two? love is love as some one famously stated?

  • Jennie

    Many truths change as we learn–we once thought the earth was flat, that the earth is the center of the universe, that the sun moves around earth, earth has existed only 6,000 years, etc.,. But, as we learn more and more about things we realize that some of these truths are wrong. The earth is round, moves around the sun and we are not the center of the universe. We began millions and millions of years ago and have evolved….landscape and people. We once considered those who are gay as queer, strange, then sinners, etc.,. Now we know that people who are gay have not made a choice, but accept themselves the way God made them-nor preferring the opposite sex. It is time that the rest of the world accepts likewise.

    I would also like to add, does it matter if man was put here whole, as is, or if he evolved? Does it matter if the earth likewise has been changing for millions of years? Does it matter if God stuck his hand out and made these things, or if it happened in the beginning as a big bang? It all had to have a start–something started it. Does it matter if it is today’s concept of God, or something else? Something bigger and more powerful had to start it all. Who should care What or Who it was?

  • NotUndecided

    Why only two? Why not a man and his farm animal? All good questions. Bring them up to the Supreme Court as cases and see how they rule. In the meantime, there’s marriage equality for two consenting adults of age.

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart

    I would have said many _beliefs_ change as we learn. The truth does not change; we simply learned that some beliefs of Bronze Age Hebrews recorded in the Bible were never actually true.

  • cipher

    It could lead to the loss of government contracts and benefits for those who uphold the truth of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It could lead to the loss of professional licensing or institutional accreditation.

    We can only hope.

    We need to be winsome, prophetic, speak to the outside culture and loving in persuasive [sic] ways and also train up countercultural communities that honor marriage and keep our marriages together and cultivate healthy marriages in the future.

    No one is trying to interfere with your right to “cultivate healthy marriages ” – and good luck in attempting to “speak to the outside culture in loving and persuasive ways”. It isn’t a skill the Southern Baptist Convention is known for cultivating.

  • Rose Ellen

    A family is a family, no matter-man/woman, man/man, woman/woman and children.
    Plain and simple. Get use to it.

  • BACFA

    Wrong.

  • BACFA

    Giving booze to an alcoholic is not outreach.

  • BACFA

    And in 30 years time what equally disruptive and disgusting thing will you be forced to face from your children’s generation? That life is over at 40? that no gender is best and all people are to be neutered? What you think is outrageous to you is the way those of us who weren’t drug-culture hippies feel about things today.
    All I got to say is…you better hope you guys hold on to power, because if we get a toehold…

  • cipher

    I’ve seen your other comments. You have nothing of value to say, and this comment in particular is irrelevant.

    Go vent elsewhere.

  • Eva

    The truth may not change, but our beliefs in what we consider to be the truth do change.

  • Richard Sims

    Some people will always be bigots, I guess.

  • Ellen Scott

    As Richard says—–bigots ever change. You must be a very unhappy person since you cannot accept people for who they are and you certainly do not have a loving heart.

  • cipher

    I don’t think you meant this in reply to me.

  • RCF

    How exactly do children come about in a man/man or woman/woman “family”? Since it always takes a man and a woman to create a child, then call me a bigoted idiot, but maybe, just maybe, having both a man and a woman raise that child as it’s father and mother is the moral and natural ideal society should embrace and sanctify.