Pastors are speaking out against gay marriage in the wake of Eric Holder's announcement that the Obama administration will recognize the 300 same-sex marriages that were held in Michigan before a federal appeals court put them on hold.
Reverend Kenneth Klett, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in West Michigan, fears for how this ruling will affect the future of churches that adhere to a Biblical definition of marriage. "Homosexual marriage...is in defiance of God and opposes the created order. Sadly, we as Christians should not be surprised at the world's thinking [about this ruling]. When the church embraces it, it is shameful."
This is not the first time pastors have spoken out against Michigan's laws concerning gay marriage. In February, prior to the federal court trial involving a lesbian couple wanting to adopt children, about 50 pastors spoke at a news conference held at a Detroit church, referencing the Michigan marriage amendment in 2004 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The trial "is an unjust threat to voting rights," said Reverend Stacy Swimp of Flint, Michigan. "We are standing here united ... not ashamed to stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the institution of marriage. God defined marriage and 2.5 million people went to the polls (in 2004) to reaffirm what God has said." The Reverend Roland Caldwell agreed, stating "The fight is on." He argued that it is wrong to overturn the will of the people determined through voting.
Michigan governor Rick Snyder had declared the 300 marriages performed as legal, but announced that Michigan could not recognize them due to the court's stay. Holder's announcement, however, allows for federal benefits historically reserved for heterosexual couples to be given to gay couples, including the ability to file taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners.
According to Klett, Holder's announcement once again not only raises moral issues, but political ones as well. "Once a precedent is set in a state and made and goes unchallenged it seems it is just a matter of time before the federal government will protect and promote it. This is especially the case in defending immorality. Sure enough, within a day Holder intruded into our governor's territory. This administration works that way and is bent on godlessness."
Although a majority of Michiganders now back gay marriage, according to a survey released by the LGBT group Equality Michigan, Klett argues that Biblical commands don't change just because culture does. "The worldly mind is schizophrenic," states Klett. "We tend to make good decisions about certain things and tragically bad ones regarding others."
Pastors such as Swimp, Klett and Caldwell say they are just a small portion of a majority who support traditional, Biblically defined marriage. But Klett fears they will soon be silenced under the threat of legal ramifications. "My fear is that churches and pastors will be pressured, and those who have written into constitutions and bylaws concerning the definition of Biblical marriage will be better off legally than those who do not."