May, Harrison call for support of Indiana marriage bill

By Paula Schlueter Ross

LCMS Indiana District President Rev. Daniel P. May and LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison are working together to strengthen — and safeguard — traditional marriage in Indiana.

May

May

Both Synod leaders have signed a letter that asks Lutherans in Indiana to encourage their state legislators to vote in favor of House Joint Resolution 6, or HJR6, which would amend the state constitution to prohibit future legislatures from passing laws that would allow same-sex couples to marry or that would provide legal protections for such marriages.

The bill is expected to be before Indiana legislators as early as mid-January 2014. If it passes in both the state House of Representatives and Senate, the measure will be on the ballot in November 2014 for the state’s registered voters to approve. If it wins the popular vote, the amendment will be added to the Indiana state constitution.

Indiana already has a law that limits marriage to one man-one woman relationships. “The concern,” says May, “is that a judge could overturn the law and declare it unconstitutional.”

But “an Indiana constitutional amendment” — which is being proposed by the HJR6 bill — “would be stronger and much more difficult to overturn,” he told Reporter.

In Utah, for example, gay marriage became legal on Dec. 20, 2013, when a U.S. district judge ruled that the state’s gay-marriage ban violated gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights. (The U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on that decision on Jan. 6, 2014, pending the state’s appeal of the ruling.)

Indiana is one of 33 states that ban same-sex marriage; in 17 states, gay marriage is legal.

indiana-marriage-logo-INIn their letter — which is expected to be shared with all LCMS pastors in Indiana by Jan. 10 — May and Harrison acknowledge that “supporters of same-sex marriage are overwhelming our legislators with calls and emails, while the legislators have heard little from those who support traditional marriage.

“Our message needs to be strong,” they write. “As Christians, we know that marriage matters. It matters because God instituted marriage as one man and one woman. Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed this view, and even more, marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the church. … marriage is a gift from God, and it deserves our support.”

Calling gay marriage “a vital issue of religious freedom,” the letter cites the situation in Illinois, where “pro-gay marriage legislation has not only mandated support for gay adoption, but the state now refuses to license any adoption agency which on religious or conscience grounds cannot participate in such adoptions.

“We have lost our [Lutheran] agency there,” May and Harrison note. “This is the tip of the iceberg, as a variety of lobbyists seek to normalize same-sex marriage and drive any conscience-bound opposition from the public discussion.”

The letter also calls attention to related resources:

  • a bulletin insert that explains the concern over HJR6 and suggests how Lutherans in Indiana can help get the bill passed.
  • a sample letter Lutherans in Indiana can use to contact their senators and representatives, asking them to support HJR6.
  • a list of Indiana legislators, with their phone numbers and email addresses. Also available is a link to an online resource that’s designed to help Indiana residents find the names of their senators and representatives.

All of the resources are free and may be found on the Synod’s “Religious Liberty: Free to be Faithful” website.

May told Reporter that the HJR6 letter and resources “demonstrate the solidarity of the church at-large,” both at the national and district levels, and said he is hoping many others will support those efforts.

“A few months ago it looked like the bill would pass without much trouble — now it appears to be a toss-up,” he said, adding that there also is a “possibility that it will be shelved.”

Said May: “It is important for us as citizens of the state of Indiana to speak to social issues of this import and yet we are well aware that we need to be more consistent in our honoring of marriage.

“Regardless of what happens with this effort, the church will need to be a strong ‘light’ in the midst of darkness. As we proclaim the Gospel and share the whole counsel of God’s Word, we are witnesses. The way we live our lives and practice Christian marriage in our personal lives is the strongest witness.

“Even if we are able to encourage this amendment, we are well aware of the cultural shifts that are going the wrong way. Hopefully, this will be a sharing of God’s will rather than man’s.”

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5 Responses to May, Harrison call for support of Indiana marriage bill

  1. Alice J. Fink January 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    God have mercy on us; help us be faithful.

  2. GEORGE BRUNER January 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    The Bible’s Scriptures plainly states marriage is between one man and one woman. Please explain to me how two people of the same sex could propagate.

  3. JANETTE BRUNER January 13, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    If you do not believe what the bible has to say about creation and love then this comment will mean nothing to you. I believe the bible is the true word of God therefore as Genesis 2 verse 18 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper sutiable for him.” verse 22 Then the Lord God made a woman and closed up the place taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. verse 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. verse 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. This was the first marriage instituted by GOD. It is thus that our God made marriage between one man and one woman and I don’t care who anyone is, they cannot deny what God has provided, unless you do not believe in GOD.

    • Loretta Fenstermacher January 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Yes, God have mercy, and give us the courage and strength to stand firm to follow His will. Anyone who reads and accepts the Bible as God’s Word will know the truth. It is those who do not, or will not accept God’s Word who are permissive and do not know what they are saying or agreeing to. The growing willingness throughout society to accept gay marriage as normal are destroying Christian moral standards. It is very sad for our future generations. Jesus did not fight back when he was crucified to save us, but he did protect the sanctity of the temple. We must follow God and protect morality in our Christian churches and not allow gays to marry in any Christian church. It would be even better if we could stop them from marrying at all. We cannot control people, we can stand together to protect God’s Word and the sanctity of our Holy Christian Church.

  4. Lissy Rios January 27, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    I will stay firm that a mariage should be between one man and one woman. We can not sugar code things. We should not encourage sin, but we will always love the sinners, we are sinners but we try to follow God and live a better life. Is not that we dislike other like gay or lesbians, no, we love them to but we will not accept their sins. And people have to understand this type of definition. May God have mercy on all.

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