Some churches in the US are preparing to be sued over gay marriage

Due to the US Supreme Court's Defense of Marriage Act decision, some conservative Christian churches are worried about facing legal challenges from gay couples

Some churches in the US are preparing to be sued over gay marriage
24 August 2013

While the Supreme Court’s late June Defense of Marriage Act ruling caused supporters of marriage equality to rejoice, it made a few Christian conservatives dream of lawsuits.

According to an Associated Press report, there are conservatives churches changing their bylaws to show they only will sanction marriages between men and women. This being done to protect the churches from being sued.

‘I thought marriage was always between one man and one woman, but the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision said no,’ Gregory S. Erwin, an attorney for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, an association of Southern Baptist churches, said to the AP.

‘I think it’s better to be prepared because the law is changing. America is changing,’ Erwin continued.

The Louisiana Baptist Convention is one of the groups suggesting churches get prepared for legal challenges.

Dean Inserra, pastor of City Church Tallahassee, based in the Southern US state Florida, admitted he’s worried about what gay members of his congregation will do if he does not marry them.

‘We have some gay couples that attend our church. What happens when they ask us to do their wedding,’ Inserra asked the Associated Press. ‘What happens when we say no? Is it going to be treated like a civil rights thing?’

Gay Star News spoke to Ross Murray, GLAAD’s director of news and faith initiatives. Murray pointed out when it comes to LGBT issues, exceptions have been made for religious institutions.

‘Churches have always had the freedom to discriminate,’ said Murray.

He added, and this was also mentioned in the AP article, no church has been taken to court to perform a gay marriage ceremony.

‘Gay and lesbian couples who want to get married in a religious setting can go to one of the many churches, synagogues, or other places of worship who respect and support their relationships,’ Murray said.

As for why the fear of invisible legal action is becoming a talking point, Murray reminded the political, and cultural, landscapes are changing.

‘There was a time when religious and conservative people could control the culture about marriage. However, marriage equality has shifted. Now they are recasting themselves in a victim mentality.’

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