Mormons, Anglicans, and Why Global Churches Struggle Over LGBT Rights 

In the United States, 2015 was a watershed year for marriage equality. With a 5-4 decision in June, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right to marry for all Americans, regardless of the gender composition of the couple. Marriage traditionalists built their case against same-sex unions on the proposition that, as a fundamentally religious ritual, marriage was for millennia defined as a union between one man and one woman. However, Obergefell rejected the premise that lawmaking could be based solely on religious reasons without clearly defined state-sanctioned goals. Through its ruling, the Supreme Court built a constitutional wall separating marital unions from the church’s traditional definition.

Yet if 2015 saw the backers of marriage equality win a decisive victory, 2016 opened with what might be a trend among some churches to relocate the battleground over same-sex marriage within the boundaries of their own religious communities. On January 10, a leading member of the worldwide hierarchy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) announced that the church’s controversial and exclusionary policy toward gay Mormon couples and their children—first established in 2015 in response to Obergefell—was “revealed” to the church’s president and confirmed by the other church apostles to be “the will of the Lord.” Four days later, the Anglican Communion announced that it had voted to suspend for three years the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), the largest U.S. member of the global Communion, from key voting positions. The suspension came in response to the Episcopal Church’s practice of allowing its clergy to perform same-sex marriage and for its decision, in the wake of Obergefell, to include same-sex marriage rites in its church laws.

Source:  Religion & Politics

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