Providing opportunities for all couples to celebrate their weddings is very important to fully affirm LGBTQ people in your community. It is seen by many as a sign that a faith group has truly committed to equality for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Denominations and religions have a variety of positions on the issue, so check that for yourself. Keep in mind that there are straight and gender-normative couples who prefer to be married in an inclusive setting where their LGBTQ guests, family members and friends will also be welcomed and affirmed.
Here are some ideas for congregations that practice marriage equality:
- Make your position clear on your website and in appropriate materials.
- Consider the brochures and web-based information you have for couples who are considering getting married as part of your community or in your space.
- Does it explicitly state your willingness to bless same-sex couples?
- Is the language inclusive? For example, does it refer to bride and groom or to a couple, without gender references? Husband and wife, or spouses? Language matters.
- Do any photos include same-sex couples or genderqueer or transgender participants? Or are all the images of gender-conforming male-female couples?
- Include examples of same-gender relationships and those that include gender non-binary or transgender people in your sermons and other teachings.
- When offering workshops, retreats, or other opportunities that focus on relationships or marriages, invite and fully include all kinds of couples in your programming.
- Locate resources from your religious tradition for wedding ceremonies and rites between two people of the same gender. Some examples are below.
- Take a stand against proposed or existing laws that allow businesses to discriminate by refusing to offer goods and services for weddings between two people of the same gender.
- Write a letter to the editor or on social media about your congregation’s inclusive stance.
- Talk about why discrimination is harmful to your village, town or city and to the people who are subject to different treatment.
- Work with advocacy groups who are engaged in legislative work to prevent or overturn such laws.
- Celebrate! Weddings are a wonderful chance for people to come together for a joyful occasion at your community of faith.
Resources for Ceremonies:
These are just a few of the many resources available to get you started:
- Beliefnet’s interfaith list of same sex wedding ceremonies and resources
- Keshet’s Marriage Project
- Reform Judaism: several articles at ReformJudaism.org
- Reconstructionist Judaism: services included in the Rabbi’s Manual
- United Church of Christ Marriage Equality Resources
- Episcopal Church USA—Rite for the Blessing of a Same-Sex Marriage
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Supplemental Resource for Marriage Service
- Presbyterian Church USA, Blessing Same Gender Relationships