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Catholic World News

Christian ministers urged to stop signing marriage certificates

November 18, 2014

Two Episcopalian priests have urged American ministers of all Christian communities to join them in a pledge “to separate civil marriage from Christian marriage” by refusing to acts as “agents of the state” by signing marriage certificates.

The “Marriage Pledge” initiated by the two clerics appears on the web site of First Things, an influential ecumenical journal. R.R. Reno, the editor of First Things, introduces the effort with his own supportive comment. “As the legal reality of marriage changes, we must act,” he writes. “If the churches continue as if nothing has changed, the message is that for all our strong words nothing really decisive is at stake. It’s now time, then, to think long and hard about what we need to do—or refuse to do.”

Revs. Ephraim Radner and Christopher Seitz explain in the Marriage Pledge that they are taking action because with the widespread legal recognition of same-sex unions, governments have redefined marriage. “If we fail to take action, we risk falsifying God’s Word,” they argue.

The authors explain that they will officiate at weddings only if the couples “seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ¬articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.” They say that they will encourage couples to make other provisions for civil recognition of their marriages.


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