Many Religious Leaders Prohibited from Officiating Same-Sex Marriages

May 13, 2004

Source: The Boston Globe

On May 13, 2004 The Boston Globe reported, "The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, headed by three bishops who support gay marriage, is barring its priests from officiating at same-sex weddings, citing restrictive language in the canons and prayerbook of the church. The decision by the Episcopal bishops, who are among the most outspoken religious supporters of same-sex couples in the state, is in line with the rulings of the vast majority of mainstream religious denominations, most of which are barring their clergy from officiating at the marriages of same-gender couples when those marriages become legal in the Commonwealth next week. The Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, the National Baptist Convention, and the Church of God in Christ are ordering or asking clergy not to officiate at same-sex marriages. Clergy in several religions and denominations with no hierarchy, such as Islam, Orthodox Judaism, and Conservative Judaism, as well as in most independent African-American Protestant and evangelical Protestant churches, are also expected to refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings. The prohibitions, in a state where hundreds of clergy have said they support same-sex marriage, are setting up serious conflicts and the possibility of ecclesiastical trials within several major denominations."