Our church believes that marriage should be limited to unions between a man and woman. We are concerned about the possible liability of pastors who decline to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies due to their theological convictions, even if allowed by law. We also are concerned about the liability of our church if we do not allow same-sex couples to use our sanctuary for weddings. Should we be concerned?
In the past year, several federal courts have ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. It is likely that the United States Supreme Court will do the same, making same-sex marriage a legal right in every state. How would such a ruling affect churches and pastors?
Consider the following points:
First, most courts and legislatures that have recognized a legal right on the part of same-sex couples to marry have explicitly recognized that clergy remain free to marry, or not marry, any couple based on their theological convictions.