Tim Denhem (left) and his partner of a year, Rick Astle, watch the Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act on a large screen on Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh last summer.
A decade ago, I was a middle-of-the-road minister performing my duties in full support of my denomination’s and Pennsylvania’s stance against gay marriage. Three things changed my thinking:
I did a thorough study of the Scriptures and came to realize that gay bashing and the humiliation of those who are transgendered has no support in the Gospel. I read the relevant passages in their context. I now believe that today’s church should stand in solidarity with the LGBT community. I find myself uncomfortable with bigoted people, such as state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who espouse a very narrow reading of both the secular law and the holy writ.
Second, I began to see the issue as one of civil rights. It is hard to defend a policy that affords a people equal protection under the law but denies them something as basic to human dignity as the freedom to marry whom they choose. In a similar way, I cannot say to a gay person, you are free to come to my church but I won’t accept you into a full fellowship or perform all my pastoral duties for you. When I require other people to be like me, I misuse my authority.
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