Some ministers are signing a “marriage pledge” promising not to sign state marriage licenses as a protest against legalized gay marriage.
This strikes me as a terrible, if well-intentioned, idea. Doesn’t this mean that the marriages performed by these pastors won’t be legally recognized, unless the couple goes through a separate civil service? Also, at least for Lutherans but also for most Protestants, marriage is not a sacrament; rather, it falls under the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Left, so that it falls under civil jurisdiction. (The Reformers fought hard to get marriage out from under the restrictions of the church’s Canon Law into the laws of the state.) In a wedding, the church blesses the marriage in God’s name, which is very important, but it doesn’t create a marriage in a sacramental sense. (It would for Catholics, so I can see how they could sign a marriage pledge, but I can’t see how Protestants could. That marriage has to do with the temporal authorities does not mean that the state can create new definitions of marriage, but it still has a legitimate legal authority that we are obliged to honor.)
So I don’t see how the marriage pledge can be either legally or theologically correct. But maybe I’m missing something, so I’m open to correction. Read the pledge after the jump. [Read more…]