A group of local churches in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area have begun to refuse to marry heterosexual couples in protest of the ban on same-sex marriage. The churches will still hold ceremonies and blessings for both straight and gay couples, but not sign the marriage certificates of the straight couples. Instead, the straight couples will have to seek out a judge to make the nuptials legal.
Thank God (literally) that some churches are standing up for our community and what’s right. "Seventy-five dollars for a judge and 30 minutes plus parking is such a small inconvenience compared to what same-sex couples experience," explains one minister.
The idea that churches should have no real involvement in civil marriages is long overdue. Our country’s idea of marriage is completely too intertwined with religion, which is why we have fallen behind other countries in the world when it comes to marriage equality. Spain, one of the most Catholic countries in the world, allows same sex marriage because they are able to separate the religious aspect from the civil contract, something our society is unwilling or unable to do.
The separation of religious blessing and civil marriage can only help all involved. It allows the government to grant the rights that go along with civil marriage to all and allows churches the freedom to choose whom they bless without interference.
As Anita Hill, a pastor at Saint Paul-Reformation Church, says, "We're not in the wedding business; we're in the blessing business."