Goin’ to the Chapel?

The story of the couple who was denied marriage at his home church has been on line for several days.

Couple with disabilities denied marriage

And at first, I would assume most readers, just like me, found this a shocking outrage and an act of cruelty nearly beyond description.

How could a man who had spent a lifetime in a particular church, finally at age 36 fall in love with someone and ask to be married; only to be denied because because the pastor thought they were not ‘ready’ and this violated church doctrine.

They have since found a more inclusive church that will marry them.

You probably think you know where I’m going with this, so you’re in for a surprise.

Earlier this month there was a major victory for marriage equality in the state of Minnesota.

One of the very few points of agreement on both sides was that churches would not be forced to marry any couple they did not want to.


And I agreed with that as it relates to gay people. And as a raging liberal I believe in equality for all, not just for gay people.

The right for churches to refuse to marry anyone they so choose needs to extend to disabled people, those of color, divorced people, those of other religions, foreigners as well as gay people.

I’m a little young to remember the civil rights movement, but I am old enough to remember growing up in a church that refused to marry a couple who lived together before marriage, who had a child out of wedlock, and a couple where one was of the Catholic faith. (I was Lutheran). And it goes without saying anyone who had been divorced would never be considered.

It is a sad reality that there are a number of churches who seem to maintain relevance not by who they are, but by who they are not; not by who they include, but by who they exclude.

This will most likely continue on long after I’m gone.

And it’s a wonderful reality that there are a number of churches who maintain relevance by who they are, and who they include.

This will most likely continue on long after I’m gone.

Today’s Gay Agenda: As saddened as I am for what this couple went through, this really is a non-story. Everyone agreed long ago that no church should be forced to marry anyone. It just seems so much more sad when it’s a disabled couple, who seem to have overcome a lot of obstacles to get to the altar.


10 thoughts on “Goin’ to the Chapel?”

  1. I believe that this is a story primarily about what churches are, and what they want to be.
    When you put dogma/teaching above people, your church will suffer the consequences — your membership will decrease. The churches that are growing are those who put people, and relationships, first.

  2. So true Stephan. I’m really glad it’s never been popular to actively discriminate against disabled people, in spite of the fact they had to sue the government to gain equal access to public places and so forth.

    As always, I’m sure there’s much more to the story. Nonetheless, it’s still really sad when a couple who has clearly overcome some challenges is denied their church’s blessing on their new life together.

  3. I don’t understand why people expect a church to adapt to their own moral code. If you’re going to be a Catholic, a Lutheran, a Baptist, ect… be a good one and abide by that denomination’s teachings. Don’t be offended when that church stands by its teachings. Churches are losing membership because people are drifting away from them, not vice versa.

    1. I know I have never been “offended” by anyone’s beliefs, unless it is hateful. I think it is good to stand by your moral principles!
      I have seen, however, some church hierarchy people who are “offended” by other people who don’t agree with them! It is if they have a monopoly on the truth.

  4. Well with the number of divorces in this country, maybe the churches need to be even more selective on whom they will marry.. Because according to the statistics they’ll marry just about any heterosexual couple with a heart beat and a checkbook.

    1. You may be on to something here. The priest in the story mentioned above was simply doing his job. He did not deny marriage to the couple, he just said that they have more marriage prep work to do before they are ready.

      1. Sorry for such a late response. My question is this.. If it is a Priest/Ministers responsibility to ensure that couples are ready for marriage (I’m not disputing this fact) why are there so many divorces in this country?Are they not doing their jobs?

        Also is marriage a right or a privilege? If it is a right, then marriage cannot be denied to anyone and as long as a couple isn’t breaking the tenants of that particular denomination the priest should just marry them. If it is a privilege then the in my opinion the church is falling down on the job ensuring that people who ant to get married are ready for marriage.

  5. testing. testing. can’t seem to post anything on this blog. testing, testing. could you adjust your security settings Mac. I have a Mac not a windows.

  6. Okay that’s better. I believe the problem wass that couple have some developmental disabilities. Often you will find with the church is that they look out for their followers that have disabilities. I’m sure they’re acting in the best interest of the couple.

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