Local Churches React to SCOTUS Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jun 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-26 23:59:00-04

While Central Texas churches plan to marry same sex couples, others do not anticipate performing such weddings.

Even though some churches are taking sides on this issue, they agree all churches have the right to choose whether or not to perform same-sex marriages.

On Friday, parishioners at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco and the Central Texas Metropolitan Community Church celebrated marriage equality, which they say is a stepping stone to achieve equality in other areas.

“Even yesterday they would consider themselves second class citizens, now we can look at ourselves as first class citizens,” said Rev. Charley Garrison, Central Texas Metropolitan Community Church Pastor.

For Garrison, who became permanent pastor of his church 15 years ago, this moment is not only meaningful for his congregation, but also for his partner and him.

“Being together, we are in love. We feel like we are still married in the eyes of God and have always been since we have been together. But when we get that marriage certificate what that does, that brings along a lot of rights we weren't entitled to,” said Garrison.

The 5-4 Supreme Court ruling is something Garrison did not think he would see in his lifetime.

“Even today, I had to check myself once or twice when I was reading the SCOTUS blog and we won. I still didn't think it was true,” said Garrison.

The Grace Church Lead Pastor Jay Mathis was not surprised by the decision. However, he still disagrees with it.

"[I'm] discouraged as an American, as a Christian, these things happen. We press on. Our hope is in Heaven, not in the Supreme Court,” said Mathis.

He said his congregation, which will meet at a building on Bosque Boulevard by the end of the year, will not be marrying same-sex couples.

“I don't think churches should be threatened by this,” said Mathis. “The Supreme Court didn't create marriage, so it can't recreate it or reinvent marriage.”

For this non-denominational congregation, marriage will remain between a man and a woman.

“It's also the religious liberties of Grace Church and others to say no we don't choose to do those kinds of weddings,” said Mathis.

Some local ministers plan to have a 24-hour period marriage event for any couple starting Friday, July 10, in the afternoon and ending on Saturday, July 11. The fees will be waived for these ceremonies.

Churches schedule it that far in advance in order to allow same-sex couples to get their licenses.

Ministers from the Central Texas MCC, Cross ties Ecumenical Church in Waco, United Church of Waco, United Church of Christ in Robinson and UUWaco will officiate the ceremonies.