June 26, 2013

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A UMNS Report

The full ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings Wednesday, June 26, on same-sex marriage still are being hashed out.

But on one thing many United Methodists agree: The decisions will add fuel to a longtime denominational debate on how the church ministers to gays and lesbians.

In the case Windsor v. United States, a 5-4 majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, arguing that it is a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons as protected by the Fifth Amendment.

“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” Kennedy wrote.

The case does not establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. What it does is establish that same-sex couples who are legally married are entitled to equal treatment under federal law. These couples now will be able to receive the same federal benefits, with regard to such matters as income taxes and Social Security, that the U.S. government grants to other married couples.

The court did not address whether states that ban same-sex marriage must recognize such marriages that take place in other states.

n the case Hollingsworth v. Perry, the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that proponents of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state, did not have standing to defend the law on appeal after it was struck down in federal district court. California government officials who normally would have defended the law in court declined to do so.

As a result, the Supreme Court held that the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has no legal force. It sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the appeal. The ruling potentially clears the way for same-sex marriage in California.

What this means for the church

Ahead of the rulings this week, Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner published an “E-pistle” noting that he expected people to “be upset and distressed” by the court’s rulings — some wanting more restrictions on marriage and some wanting fewer.

“I believe that we United Methodists need to respond to whatever the Court may rule with these attitudes: prayer, patience and respect for one another,” he wrote.

What the rulings do not change, Coyner noted, is The United Methodist Church’s definition of marriage.

The Book of Discipline, the global denomination’s law book, affirms the “sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman.”


June 26, 2013

Comments (6)

Comment Feed

Good News finally

The SCOTUS rulings are a form of managed social change which must occur gradually to be made to last. Thus, California will now have same sex marriages, but not the rest of the states which currently do not. This is good. It will mean not only LGBT folks, but persons who respect justice, and companies which want good workers, will relocate to the states which allow marriage and other states will suffer even as they must honor the marriages obtained in states which allow them under the U.S. Constitution's full faith and credit clause.

George N. Shuler, LCSW 286 days ago

Same Sex Marriage

I don't know a lot about central Mississippi, but here in urban Pennsylvania, we are very glad that the Supreme Court has acknowledged the justice of the claim that those who are denied marriage benefits are unjustly singled out in contravention of the First Amendment. We celebrate with the same sex couples who have found sanctuary and acceptance in many of our churches, and who have brought their families with them ( to the enormous benefit of our Sunday schools). We cherish one another and hope,pray and work for the time when then can find homes in any UM church, in any state of the United States, and finally in any country.

Anne Ewing 294 days ago

Same Sex marriage

Is the issue important enough to destroy another denomination? The Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church, for all practical purpose, have been destroyed by this issue here in central Mississippi. Do we want to add the UMC to that list?
If you are going to ask any member of the Methodist church here in the hinter land, you will get the answer that a marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man with a man or a woman with a woman. And for us here, that also seems to be the Biblical answer.

Arthur Keith 300 days ago

A more appropriate answer... those who say they are opposed to same-sex marriage: "You don't have to marry someone of the same sex if you don't want to."

Tom Griffith 294 days ago

Same sex marriage.

So we ignore not only the tradition of the church, but also what we have believed the Bible teaches on the subject. Explain to me how then we are the church if we decide what part of the Bible we accept and what part we do away with. I believe that at that point we have become a social organization, no longer the church of Jesus Christ.

Arthur Keith 294 days ago

Same-gender couples and 'The Church'

Have you forgotten that at one time The Methodist Church, along with other denominations,
quoted scripture to say that buying and selling and holding slaves was approved by scripture?
Later we understood that treating other humans that way was was NOT a Godly thing to do
and not the way Jesus would have us be.
Once women were second class citizens, not allowed to vote. Once women were second
class members of churches, not allowed to speak up, not allowed to be ordained.
Some day all of us will realize (admit) that same gender couples are not to be treated as
second class citizens. Our unions will be recognized, honored and blessed---same as those of our heterosexual brothers and sisters.

Elsie Gauley Vega 285 days ago


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