Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, issued a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that made same-sex marriage legal across the nation. Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for more than a decade.
While many denominations and religious organizations are taking public stands against the ruling, he noted that the Christian Reformed Church already has a position on homosexuality, and one on marriage. The CRC’s position on marriage states, “Marriage is an institution created by God. It is a covenant relationship established by mutual vows between a man and a woman united by God.” He also pointed out that both of those documents make reference to the CRC’s synod-appointed study committee to provide pastoral advice concerning same-sex marriage, scheduled to report in 2016.
Timmermans said that some of the questions coming to his office are from people wondering if the state can, by means of the recent Supreme Court ruling, force churches to open their doors to same sex marriages. “The answer, while not at a level of legal advice, continues to be the same,” he said. “If a church restricts the use of its building for its stated religious purposes, it can refuse to ‘rent’ to others for different purposes.”
He concluded his statement saying that Christians must give clear witness to Jesus’ command to love one another.
“While great discernment is necessary due to society’s rapidly changing mores, we must be clear about our witness,” he said. “Society may change, but our goal does not. May we continue to be used powerfully by the Spirit in making disciples next door and around the world.”