Attorney Steve Justice, consultant to Church of God Ministries, presented on same sex marriage laws and the implications for the church.
As the Supreme Court released its decision this past week, legalizing same sex marriage across the country, he recommends churches take IMMEDIATE action to avoid complications regarding these laws.
Here are some suggested steps....
1. Include in your by-laws the church's belief that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman.
2. Include in your by-laws and 'Building Use Policy' that the facilities will not be used to conduct same-sex marriages.
3. Do not advertise/conduct a wedding business in your church facilities. (Once the church begins to 'look like' it is in a wedding business it begins to be subject to non-discrimination commerce laws.)
4. It is also suggested that your church consider limiting weddings to "members" of the congregation in good standing with the faith and teachings of the Church of God (Anderson).
1. Do not conduct, or engage in the appearance of, conducting a wedding business for the public.
2. It is also suggested that you consider limiting your official role in weddings to members of the congregation in good standing with the faith and teachings of Church of God (Anderson).
As this issue develops, we urge you to watch the language and development of the laws in your state. Many states may have exemptions for churches. Please consult with your State Pastors concerning any questions you may have.