Bishop of Metropolitan Washington DC Synod (ELCA) Supports Marriage Equality in Maryland
|The Rev. Richard Graham, |
bishop of the Metropolitan
Washington DC Synod (ELCA)
Question 6 concerns an issue about which there has been considerable debate. The General Assembly last spring passed a measure to allow same-gender marriage in Maryland, with the provision that the measure could be placed on the ballot by popular petition. A petition was circulated through the state, and so same-gender marriage is on the ballot next Tuesday. Same-gender marriage is already legal in the District of Columbia part of our synod.
What is on the ballot this year is a question that has been crafted with the intention of assuring that religious institutions and religious people are not required to participate in same-gender weddings that offend their consciences. In fact, pastors and priests always have the right not to marry couples for any reason.
This question seems to me to involve a basic matter of fairness (and I suspect that many people who have feelings against same-gender sex will still support the Question 6 for that reason). I believe that our ELCA social statement on human sexuality allows for principled voting both for and against this question. I believe that positions we have taken in our synod place us squarely in support of Question 6. I personally support this question.
Bishop Graham also had this to say about conscience and political life:
Our ELCA social statements say that our church takes positions and makes statements to "inform the conscience of its members in the spirit of Christian liberty."* This means that, though we wrestle together with the political life that helps shape our communities, we each bear responsibility alone before God for the way we vote, for the hopes and the dreams that we put into practice when we cast our ballots. So that you know how I interpret the information I'm giving you, I will tell you how I intend to vote. You must pray and think and make up your own minds.