B y Michael O’Connor, Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska).
But that won’t be the case at all Omaha Presbyterian churches.
That’s just one example of the patchwork of church views locally as the court stands poised to decide whether to legalize gay marriage nationwide. The issue before the court is whether states such as Nebraska have the right to ban gay marriage, and whether such states must recognize a same-sex marriage performed in a state where it is legal.
There’s no doubt that differences on same-sex marriage exist among faiths, but also within them. Denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America allow local congregations to decide whether to allow the marriages, leaving churches on both sides of the matter.
The United Methodist Church continues to wrestle with questions such as whether to allow local discretion on the divisive matter.
Some denominations are making strong statements about their beliefs in advance of the court’s announcement.
The president of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination vowed last week to never officiate at a same-sex union, and his Southern Baptist Convention called on the Supreme Court not to declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm also released a legal guide for churches that seeks to protect them from discrimination lawsuits by providing templates for things such as membership policies, facility-use policies and employment criteria.
Religious leaders and their flocks in some cases have struggled with the same-sex marriage question for decades. Some church leaders and religious experts believe that the court’s decision, no matter which way it falls, could influence the internal debates.