Religion and Same Sex Marriage

marriage gayMost religious traditions do not recognize or perform same-sex marriages. In Judaism, it is not supported in the Orthodox religious tradition, and is selectively supported in the Conservative tradition.

However, Reform Judaism, which is the largest Jewish tradition, permits rabbis to bless same-sex unions within their synagogues, though it does not use the words “wedding” or “marriage” in this context.

In Canada, the issue of same-sex marriage has split the religious community apart, as the United Church of Canada—the largest Protestant denomination in the country—and some elements of the Anglican Church of Canada being supportive, while the world Anglican council opposes the changes in Canadian churches.

In 2002, the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia (whose jurisdiction includes Greater Vancouver) began allowing its churches to bless same-sex unions in marriage-like ceremonies. In response, bishops from Africa, Asia, and Latin American, representing more than one-third of Anglican Communion member worldwide, but their relations with the diocese.

Same-sex marriages can also be blessed by the Anglican clergy of the Church of England.

The British Quakers, also known as the Friends of Christ, agreed that local groups could celebrate same-sex commitments through special acts of worship that mirror the Quaker wedding ceremony.

On July 4, 2005, the General Synod of the Uniter Church of Christ approved a resolution affirming equal marriage rights regardless of gender. The specifics of the resolution did not change any church’s religious marriage policies, but urged UCC contregations to advocate for civil marriage equality. In keeping with the polity of that denomination, doctrinal matters like wedding policies remain under the authority of each local congregation.

Religious same-sex wedding ceremonies are also already performed in Unitarian Universalist churches, some Reconstructionist Jewish synagogues, and by the Metropolitan Community Church.

In Sweden, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, the Lutheran Church allows blessing of same-sex couples. In Germany some Lutheran and reformed churches in the EKD (Evangelical Church) also permit their priests to bless same-sex couples.


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