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Southern Baptists Ready to Defy Supreme Court on Marriage Equality

Southern Baptists Ready to Defy Supreme Court on Marriage Equality


The resolution approved Tuesday reaffirms the faith group's longstanding opposition to marriage equality, 'no matter how the Supreme Court rules.'

The Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution reiterating the denomination's opposition to marriage equality, in advance of a Supreme Court ruling on the freedom to marry that could be handed down as soon as Thursday.

"No matter how the Supreme Court rules, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirms its unwavering commitment to its doctrinal and public beliefs concerning marriage," reads the statement, which further states that "the public good requires defining and defending marriage as the covenanted, conjugal union of one man and one woman."

The two-page resolution was approved at the SBC's annual convening, held Tuesday and Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, reports, a website for several Alabama newspapers. It was authored by Denny Burk, a professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, and Andrew T. Walker, the director of policy studies at the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

While noting that "Southern Baptists love our neighbors and extend respect in Christ's name to all people, including those who may disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good," the statement also claims that "the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples will continue to weaken the institution of the natural family unit and erode [our] religious liberty."

The resolution goes so far as to use the word "marriage" with quotation marks when referring to the unions of same-sex couples, while affirming the SBC's position that "marriage is by nature a public institution that unites man and woman in the common task of bringing forth children."

The statement ultimately concludes with a final pledge to reject any pro-equality ruling from the Supreme Court, resolving that "Southern Baptists recognize that no governing institution has the authority to negate or usurp God's definition of marriage."

The staunchly conservative conference, which is the largest evangelical protestant denomination in the country, has long championed anti-LGBT positions, though SBC has attempted to shift its rhetoric (if not its doctrine) to a more tolerant stance in the past year. Last October, SBC leaders denounced so-called conversion therapy, the scientifically discredited practice that tries to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The SBC also recognizes the existence of intersex conditions, has issued a resolution rejecting "gay-bashing," and advises against kicking LGBT youth out of the home. However, the SBC opposes all legal protections for LGBT people, and strongly supports so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. As recently as last year, SBC leaders said they believe gay people are gay because they were molested as children, and continue to maintain that gays should remain celibate for life. Southern Baptist military chaplains are not only prohibited from ministering to lesbian and gay troops, but also from associating with chaplains who do.

The SBC's positions on transgender people are similar to where they were on gay people 20 years ago. According to official SBC doctrine, transgender people do not exist. Therefore, the Convention opposes any access to medical care, as well as any cultural or government validation of transgender identities. While condemning so-called 'ex-gay therapy,' the SBC outright endorses reparative therapy for transgender people, and tells parents that accepting the identity of your transgender child will send you to hell. Prominent members still actively promote the false narrative that transgender people are sexual predators and amputation fetishists.

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