For same-sex couples who want a religious wedding, legally recognized or not, there is good news: More religious bodies than ever are performing same-sex marriages, although some still call them “holy unions” or some other alternative name.
Most of these bodies allow clergy to opt out of same-sex ceremonies as their conscience dictates, and in some, policy varies from one congregation to another. And some religious groups that oppose marriage equality, like the United Methodist Church, have clergy whose conscience leads them to defy the official policy and perform the ceremonies anyway. While the list below is heavily Judeo-Christian, note that Buddhism and Hinduism have no official position on same-sex marriage, so you may find an officiant from one of those faiths to sanctify your union.
So check with the church, synagogue, or temple of your choice, and also with the LGBT-affirming groups within various religious entities (go to Advocate.com for a list). But here are some religious bodies that allow clergy to officiate gay unions:
- American Baptist Church
- American, Independent, and Old Catholic Churches (unlike Roman Catholicism, independent of the Vatican)
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Judaism
- Episcopal Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Metropolitan Community Church
- Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Reformed Church in America
- Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
- Unitarian Universalist Association
- United Church of Canada
- United Church of Christ
- Unity Church
As you seek a marriage officiant or an LGBT-affirming house of worship, here are some resources for various faiths:
- Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (American Baptist, Alliance of Baptists, and some other Baptist groups): WABaptists.org
- Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (Quaker): FLGBTQC.org
- Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (Hindu): GALVA108.org
- Gay Buddhist Fellowship: GayBuddhist.org
- Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples Alliance (Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]): GLADAlliance.org
- Integrity USA (Episcopal Church): IntegrityUSA.org
- Lutherans Concerned/North America (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America): LCNA.org
- More Light Presbyterians (Presbyterian Church USA): MLP.org
- Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodist): RMNetwork.org
- Room for All (Reformed Church in America): RoomForAll.com
- Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International: SDAKinship.org
- World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: GLBTJews.org
All Metropolitan Community Church congregations are LGBT-positive, as that’s the population the denomination was founded to serve. To learn more about the MCC and find a congregation near you, go to MCCChurch.org.
Also, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ, and Unity congregations are generally LGBT-affirming. For info on these denominations: UUA.org;United-Church.ca;UCC.org;Unity.org.
It’s doubtful that you’ll find a Roman Catholic church willing to perform a same-sex marriage, but there are activists, such as the members of DignityUSA, working to change the church’s view of LGBT people and their relationships. Visit DignityUSA.org.
There are also some churches that practice a more LGBT-affirming brand of Catholicism; they are not affiliated with the Vatican. Check out the American Catholic Church (AmericanCatholicChurch.info/index.html), Canada’s Eucharistic Catholic Church (ECE-ECC.com), the Independent Catholic Christian Church (InclusiveCatholics.com), and the North American Old Catholic Church (NAOldCatholic.com).