Posted in: Religion

Pastors Terrified Of Lawsuits Over Not Performing Gay Weddings

gay wedding ceremony

Some religious leaders are terrified of facing lawsuits for choosing to not perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Fearing they’ll become targets in hate-crime lawsuits, some conservative church leaders are even rewriting their bylaws to prevent homosexuals from using their facilities.

“It’s just a matter of time,” said Joe Carr, the pastor of Waynesville Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. “What’s happening in Europe – we’re going to see happen here and we’re going to see it happen sooner rather than later I’m afraid.”

Carr believes that changing his church’s bylaws will shield them from being targeted by such lawsuits.

“We needed to have a clear statement,” Carr told Fox News. “It’s to protect us from being forced to allow someone to use our facilities who does not believe what we believe the Bible teaches.”

Though recent Supreme Court decisions have changed the landscape in America as to what constitutes a legally-recognized marriage, at least one expert believes that conservative churches are being a bit to hasty in acting on their fears.

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said that religious institutions are already protected by law from such targeting.

“The U.S. Constitution already guarantees the right of churches to decide which sacraments they wish to perform and whom they want to include in these rituals, including weddings,” he said. “So these additions to church constitutions are unnecessary.”

Still, Carr and many like him are preparing for an attack on religious liberty.

“I believe pastors will be charged with hate crimes and promoting violence against homosexuality by just preaching what the Bible teaches,” he said. “I don’t believe they are going to pass any legislation protecting pastors.”

While Carr says that he does not support violence against any individual or group of individuals based on thing like sexual orientation, he’s “not going to back away from preaching what the Bible teaches.”

What do you think? Should churches be open to lawsuits for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?

[Image via: Shutterstock]

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11 Responses to “Pastors Terrified Of Lawsuits Over Not Performing Gay Weddings”

  1. Patrick Frye

    I used to be an IT administrator for a non-profit whose services were expressly limited to those who believed as they did. You couldn't be a smoker, never mind homosexual. Over the years they were sued many times in various states. In some states they won and some they lost the case, which meant they couldn't offer services in those areas. Even if such lawsuits are unfounded you still have to spend money to defend yourself, which in the cases of churches could be very damaging indeed.

  2. Jeff Jankowiak

    This is clearly the "Chicken Little" syndrome. Please stop… no pastor is going to be forced to marry anyone they do not want to. Catholic priests do not have to marry divorced couples, Jewish couples etc..so why would they will not be required to marry SS couples. Please use some common sense when discussing this topic. Now…if you go open a business to the public you must follow local statutes and laws. You cannot pick and choose which laws you want to follow. "No Gays Served" signs are against the law in most states and municipalities and they could get your license revoked.

  3. Sarah Ohh

    I agree with @Jeff Jankowiak below me. I have only been a part of one "gay wedding" (sort of hate having to say that, like "Hey, I am at lunch with my gay friends so it must be Gay Lunch"), & my friends chose to ask one of our college friends to be ordained so she could officiate. No one, unless they're just spoiling for a fight – and I hope for everyone's sake that won't happen – wants someone to officiate on such a happy day who isn't happy for them. Or feels their marriage isn't real. Point being, no one will need to be 'forced' to as they won't even be asked. The First Amendment pretty much covers that.
    I appreciate your thoughts about Priests not being forced to marry divorced couples, etc. I am so tired of this whole Us vs Them stuff, especially as a person who loves God and is a person of faith and who also loves my gay friends and family members so very much. I think people are borrowing trouble.

  4. Sarah Ohh

    Oh really. What company would that be? Having some trouble buying this.
    And @Shelly Mccoy, what exactly "sucks"? Again, you are borrowing trouble.

  5. Marco Luxe

    The oldest trick in the book to get dumb sheep* to follow you [and give you money] is to scare them into thinking there's a wolf at the door.

    [*apologies to sheep, who unlike people, can't help it].

  6. Corey Mondello

    is it me or are these people so dumb they don't understand that no one is going to force them to do anything? Just last year so church, down south go figure, refused to marry a white and black couple. From my recollection, they were never force to either. This is when they can say "separation if church and state" and mean it instead if always saying "that's not written in the Constitution" whenever anyone else questions there behavior.

  7. Corey Mondello

    is it me or are these people so dumb they don't understand that no one is going to force them to do anything? Just last year so church, down south go figure, refused to marry a white and black couple. From my recollection, they were never force to either. This is when they can say "separation if church and state" and mean it instead if always saying "that's not written in the Constitution" whenever anyone else questions there behavior.