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Where to get a Religious Blessing
Gay-welcoming denominations in the United States
© June 9, 2017, Demian

Although same-sex marriage has at times been commonplace in other parts of the world, church weddings for gay and lesbian couples are a more recent phenomenon in America. UUA churches performed same-sex ceremonies in the late 1950s. The Metropolitan Community Church’s founder, Rev. Troy Perry, conducted their first church ceremony for same-sex partners on December 3, 1968, in Los Angeles.

Since then, a growing number of mainstream churches and synagogues have begun performing same-sex marriage ceremonies, unions or covenants. On June 26, 1984, the Unitarian Universalists General Assembly approved union services for same-sex couples. In 1996, the Reconstructionist Jewish Rabbinical Association endorsed same-sex marriage. In addition, marriage or blessing rites are increasingly available within individual congregations.

If you want to be married in a church or synagogue, consult the minister or rabbi where you worship, or call local congregations with a record of acceptance. In most cases, you’ll be asked to undergo counseling sessions intended to prepare couples for the marriage commitment.

If you encounter resistance, you may want to share with your congregation the statements from more welcoming congregations, such as those listed below.

While marriage ceremonies are powerful social and familial events, they do not in any way give any of the more than 150-350 rights and responsibilities of legal marriage offered by each state — nor of the more than a thousand rights built into federal laws that are triggered by legal marriage.

                  
A Quick List of U.S. Religious Denominations that have
Endorsed or Held Ceremonies for Same-Sex Couples

Individual congregations may vary.
American Apostolic Catholic Church
American Catholic Church International
American Baptist Church
        Decision to perform LGBT unions is left up to individual churches and pastors.
        In January 2008, The New Baptist Covenant Celebration, held and organized by Presidents Carter and
        Clinton, included groups advocating LGBT equality. The report from the event of more than 18,000 people
        from numerous Baptist denominations includes a point on protecting the “civil rights of gays and lesbians.”
American Ethical Union
Anglican - Canadian diocese
Bretheren/Mennonite
Buddhist
California Council of Churches
Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)
Celtic Christian Church
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
        Doesn’t endorse marriage equality.
        However, local churches and pastors may perform same-sex unions, or marriages.
Covenant of the Goddess (Wiccan)
Episcopal Church
        On July 1, 2015, the Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex weddings, which solidifyed the church’s
        embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago, with the election of the first openly gay bishop.
Evangelican Anglican Church (USA)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
        Local churches and pastors decide about performing same-sex ceremonies, including marriage where legal.
        In 2000, the Greater Milwaukee Synod became the first ELCA synod to endorse blessing same-sex unions.
                “This church acknowledges with regret the way in which the misuse of historical teachings concerning
                sexuality has harmed individuals, deepened suffering, or torn families apart. This includes actions
                that abandon or shun people for unwed pregnancy or for a same-sex orientation. Hate crimes and
                violence against those who are regarded as sexually different sometimes have been publicly perpetrated
                in the name of Christ. Not only must such behaviors be denounced, but this church must work toward
                greater understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
                        - “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” Evangelical Lutheran Church, August 19, 2009
First Nation Church
        As of April 2007, allows same-sex unions, April 2007
        See the First Nation statement in our article: Quotes: Legal Marriage)
Hawaii Council of Churches
Humanist Society (was Humanist Society of Friends)
Reconciling Congregations (United Methodist)
Reconstructionist Jewish
Reformed Catholic Church (USA)
        Does not endorse marriage equality
        However, local churches and pastors may perform same-sex unions or marriages.
Reform Judaism
        Central Conference of American Rabbis affirms the legalization of same-sex marriage
Methodist
Metropolitan Community Church
        Endorses marriage equality and performs holy unions and same-sex marriages.
Orthodox Catholic Church
Presbyterian Church (USA)
        Affirms the legalization of same-sex marriage
        Affirms the ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as ministers and lay leaders.
        Allow pastors to perform holy unions and same-sex marriages.
Quaker (Society of Friends)
Scottish Episcopal Church
        On June 8, 2017, the first Anglican church in the UK to approve same-sex marriage. The Bishops, Clergy and
        Laity in the House of Synod all voted in favour to marry gay and lesbian couples in their churches.
        The decisive vote saw the House of Bishops vote 4-1 in favour, the House of Clergy 42-20 in favour,
        and the House of Laity 50-12 in favour. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since December 2014.
Secular Humanistic Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Church
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
        Endorses marriage equality, recognizes same-sex couples, and performs unions.
        Starting in 1970, resolutions have been passed at General Assembly regarding discrimination,
        AIDS, the military, sex education in public schools, marriage equality, ENDA, and more.
        In 1984, a General Assembly resolution was passed in support of same-sex marriage.
        UUA churches performed same-sex ceremonies in the late 1950s. In 1996, a General Assembly
        resolution supported full marriage equality. UUA actively encourages congregations to work for,
        marriage equality and leaders continuously advocate for marriage equality nationally.
United Church of Canada
        Endorses marriage equality and recognizes same-sex couples.
        Individual pastors allowed to perform same-sex marriages (legal throughout Canada).
United Church of Christ
        Endorses marriage equality and recognizes same-sex couples. Pastors may perform unions.
        The UCC was the first mainline Protestant denomination to support marriage equality.
        As of April 2000, 321 of its 6,100 congregations have declared they welcome gay men and lesbians.
United Methodist Church
        Against marriage equality and same-sex unions.
        However, a growing number of pastors and churches perform marriages and unions.
Unity Fellowship Churches
Universal Life Church

Religious Organizations Actively Supporting
Ceremonies for Same-Sex Couples
American Catholic Church International (ACCI)
The ACCI affirms traditional Catholic beliefs of faith and love, spirituality, community, and prayer. It celebrates the Seven Sacraments, and adheres to the essentials of Catholic doctrine and practice as expressed and implied in the statements of Vatican Council II, and in the light of the best contemporary Catholic thought. The ACCI proclaims the unconditional love and compassion of God, which embraces every human person regardless of their state or condition in life, including issues as divorce and re-marriage, birth control, sexual orientation, and complex medical issues. The ACCI is affirming and welcoming of all God’s children.

Affirmation
The United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns has created the Covenant Relationships Network (CORNET). Cornet seeks to continue the tradition of hosting worship services that celebrate and witness to same-sex “covenant relationships” in United Methodist churches. They maintain lists of clergy and laity committed to the ministry of covenant services, and are campaigning to change the United Methodist Church’s official position on homosexuality.

Cornet
Box 1021, Evanston, IL 60204
847-733-9590 (voice-mail)
umcornet@hotmail.com
umaffirm.org/cornet


Dignity
This Catholic-based group supports same-sex relationships and marriages through social and spiritually focused activities at the local level, offering Guidelines for Holy Union services, and maintains a National Registry of Couples whose relationships have been blessed by Dignity clergy.

Dignity / USA National Office
1500 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., #11, Washington, D.C. 20005
800-877-8797; 202-861-0017; fax 202-429-9808
dignity@aol.com
dignityusa.org
Couples’ Ministry Resource Guide


Unitarian Universalists
This group has maintained an Office for Lesbian & Gay Concerns at its headquarters in Boston since 1976. It remains one of the most affirming religious bodies in North America today in its outreach and celebration of gay and lesbian people.

Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Concerns
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108
617-742-2100
obgltc@uua.org
uua.org/obgltc


United Church of Christ
On July 4, 2005, the United Church of Christ became the first mainline Christian denomination to endorse same-sex marriage Monday when its 25th biennial General Synod decisively approved an “equal marriage rights for all” resolution. The Rev. John H. Thomas, the president of the UCC, had announced, on June 28, that he supported the resolution.


All contents © 2017, Demian

Religious Support for Ceremonial Marriage
Religious Support for the Legal Right to Marry
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
Nations

    Netherlands (2001)
    Belgium (2003)
    Canada (2005)
    Spain (2005)
    South Africa (2005)
    Norway (2009)
    Sweden (2009)
    Iceland (2010)
    Argentina (2010)
    Portugal (2010)
    Denmark (2012)
    France (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    Brazil (2013)
    Uruguay (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    United Kingdom
      (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
    Luxembourg (2014)
    Finland (2014)
    Ireland (2015)
    United States (2015)
    Colombia (2016)
    Germany (2017)
    Taiwan (2017)
    Malta (2017)
US States & Territories

    Massachusetts (2004)
    California (2008)
    Connecticut (2008)
    Iowa (2009)
    Vermont (2009)
    New Hampshire (2009)
    District of Columbia (2009)
    New York (2011)
    Maine (2012)
    Washington (2012)
    Maryland (2013)
    Rhode Island (2013)
    Delaware (2013)
    Minnesota (2013)
    Illinois (2013)
    Utah (2013)
    New Jersey (2013)
    Hawaii (2013)
    New Mexico (2013)
    Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Oregon (2014)
    Wisconsin (2014)
    

    Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Pennsylvania (2014)
    Indiana (2014)
    Nevada (2014)
    Virginia (2014)
    Oklahoma (2014)
    Idaho (2014)
    West Virginia (2014)
    Alaska (2014)
    Arizona (2014)
    Wyoming (2014)
    Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Florida (2014)
    Colorado (2014)
    North Carolina (2014)
    South Carolina (2014)
    Montana (2014)
    Alabama (2015)
    U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
      Ruling: All U.S. States must now
      allow same-sex couples the
      freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes

    Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
    Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
    Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
    Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
    Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
    Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
    Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
    Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
    Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
    Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
    Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
    Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
    Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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