About a week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that clears the way for same-sex marriage in all 50 states, a number of religious leaders in Fresno share their thoughts about the landmark court decision that was split 5-4.
Pastor Christopher Breedlove of Community United Church of Christ said his congregation is “ecstatic.”
“We’ve been progressive on this issue for a long time now. … We enthusiastically embrace and affirm those in the LGBT community for who they are. Some congregations, while they might have sensitivity to this topic, they basically have ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policies. We go out of our way not to be a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ church. … Right now I don’t see a large push-back from any group about it (the Supreme Court ruling) because, in all honesty, a lot of families have gay friends and gay family members.”
The ruling meant recognition and dignity for a portion of our population that is easily marginalized.
Pastor Chris Breedlove
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Transitional Pastor Reneé Rico of University Presbyterian Church said her denomination is “not of one mind on this.”
“Our Presbyterian Church last August gave congregations and pastors the flexibility to allow same-sex marriage and for pastors to perform same-sex weddings (University Presbyterian’s board decided earlier this year to consider same-sex weddings). … Not everyone in this congregation is on the same page there, but we are working through it. It’s a complex issue. … They are going to be looking at this from their faith point of view. It’s helpful to know what the legal implications are, but I don’t sense that’s what’s driving the discussion.”
It’s OK that we are not of one mind on this.
Transitional Pastor Renee Rico
Rev. Alan Sakamoto of the Fresno Buddhist Temple said, “It’s wonderful.”
“It’s about time. I never thought that there should be discrimination against them at all. … We’ve always been open to them and welcome to them, and to even think of them as ‘them’ is very sad. They are just part of us, like everybody else is. It’s just ‘one.’”
I can’t believe the negative reaction that it’s gotten.
Rev. Alan Sakamoto
Harjinder Dhillon, a board member of the Sikh Institute of Fresno, said, “I’m not for it and I’m not against anything.”
“The only problem I have is giving the same name for a different kind of marriage. … There is nothing in our holy scriptures that talk about these things ... but if (a gay couple were to say) they want to get married in the gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), I don’t think any gurdwara would do it.”
Mormon leaders at the Fresno temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to comment, referring instead to an official statement released by their church.
“The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.”
Rabbi Rick Winer of Temple Beth Israel said the reformed Jewish tradition has been at the “front of equal rights for decades.”
“We are very pleased with the Supreme Court decision but know there’s still a lot of work to be done. … My community is concerned with healthy family relationships — and whether that be traditional male-female or male-male or female-female or one parent, male or female — we want every family to be as healthy as they can be. And God knows that the heterosexual community does not have a great track record with marriage, so anyone who is seeking to have a healthy marriage, regardless of their gender orientation, we want to support that.”