The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Faith

October 12, 2013

Churches split on views of same-gender relationships

Same-gender couples embraced by local churches, but marriage is a different story

ANDERSON — Pastor Rick Vale says people are in a dilemma when it comes to same-sex marriage.

The quandary, he said, is generating a lot of discussion.

“Nationally there is a legal acceptance of same-gender couples and the new generations in the church – those that are college age – have a different view of the situation than their parents and grandparents,” said Vale, the senior pastor of Central Christian Church, 923 Jackson St., Anderson.

According to Indiana law, only a female has the right to marry a male and only a male has the right to marry a female. The law also states that a marriage between same-gender couples is prohibited and void even if the marriage is considered lawful in other states.

In 2014, legislators will consider changing that law with an amendment to the state’s constitution.

The Indiana General Assembly postponed an amendment earlier this year that would change the state’s constitution regarding same-sex marriage.

If passed, House Joint Resolution No. 6 will only allow or recognize a marriage between “one man and one woman.” The proposed legislation would also not recognize a “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage” from another state.

The amendment will be revisited in the January-March legislative session.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to overturn a part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. The decision will allow people living in states that recognize same-sex marriage to receive the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

Vale said his Sunday congregation, numbering approximately 150 people, has about three or four same-sex couples and a handful of gays and lesbians in attendance. He also said the issue of homosexuality is not a point of contention for his church.

“Several of our churches have homosexual clergy,” he said. “In our denomination, it simply is not an issue.”

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