Tricia Dykers Koenig: Given that the GA’s authoritative interpretation of W-4.9000 affirms that ministers may use their discretion in officiating at marriages of same-gender couples, does it matter if the presbyteries approve the proposed Marriage Amendment, 14-F?
The Rev. Marc Benton’s complaint against the Presbytery of Hudson River in 1999 led to a decision by the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission forming an important precedent in the development of the constitutional interpretation about marriage in the PC(USA). In a statement to be presented at the next meeting of the presbytery, Benton explains how he changed his mind about same-gender marriage, and asks forgiveness.
David Jensen: “The biblical authors and Reformed heritage both assume that a marriage covenant is between a man and a woman. The question of same-sex marriage simply does not enter their interpretive world. Since the church must continually re-interpret its heritage in light of new questions in the attempt to be faithful to the Good News of Jesus Christ, Presbyterians are warranted in asking whether or not the distinctive strands of our tradition would allow for or prohibit same-sex unions or marriages. The burden for either side, in my opinion, lies in whether proposals for same-sex unions meet the theological criteria for marriages outlined in our tradition: May such unions, as Westminster stresses, serve the common good? Are they dim reflections of God’s covenant with humanity, as the Old Testament suggests? Do they direct human persons to one another and to the ultimacy of God’s Reign as the New Testament upholds? Do they, as Calvin urged, model restraint from sin and joy in companionship? Do they, however imperfectly, anticipate God’s communion with all creation in Christ, as our liturgy celebrates?”