When former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara attended the Maine wedding of a lesbian couple who are longtime family friends last month, the former President signed the couple's marriage certificate as an official witness.
The newlyweds, Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, shared the photo at left on social media, and told ABC News they were "honored to have President and Mrs. Bush not only in attendance but also happy to sign our license."
A spokesman for the former Republican president would not comment about Bush's position on marriage equality, but said the wedding was a "private ceremony for two friends."
But the president of the Southern Baptists Theological Seminary claims that merely by attending the wedding, the Bushes made a statement in support of marriage equality, reports blogger Joe.My.God.
In a post on his website Tuesday, Dr. R. Albert Mohler claims that anyone witnessing a wedding between a gay or lesbian couple is supporting the union that he contends is in opposition to biblical doctrine.
"Attendance at a wedding is not a neutral act," writes the president of one of the largest seminaries in the world and the self-described "flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention." "The history and context of the wedding ceremony identify all those present as agreeing to the rightness of the marriage and acting as witnesses to the exchange of vows. This is why the venerable language of The Book of Common Prayer, used in the overwhelming majority of Christian weddings, calls upon anyone with knowledge that the proposed union is invalid to speak, 'or forever hold his peace.' Anyone remaining silent at that point is affirming the rightness and validity of the marriage, and all who are present are counted as both witnesses and those who celebrate the union."
Mohler calls on faithful members of the Convention to stay resolute in their opposition to marriage equality, which he says extends to refusing to attend any wedding that a Southern Baptist would not officiate.
"No one said this was going to be easy," writes Mohler in the concluding paragraph to his lengthy post. "And this is hardly the end of the predicaments and perplexities that will challenge Christians who stand on biblical teaching in the days ahead. This is one question, however, that Christians had better think through fast. A wedding invitation might soon be headed your way."
The Southern Baptist Convention has a long history of staunchly antigay positions. In June, the Convention passed a resolution encouraging local churches to cut ties with Boy Scout troops around the country, after the Boy Scouts of America decided to allow openly gay youth to participate in its programs. Openly LGBT adults, parents, and scoutmasters are still forbidden from joining or volunteering for the organization.
In March, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's threats of nuclear attacks on the U.S. were fueled by the ongoing debate over marriage equality and allowing gay youth into the Boy Scouts.