May Churches In Oregon Be Sued For Refusing To Host LGBTQ Weddings? It Depends

Christine Lewis, the labor bureau’s legislative director, said she couldn’t give a blanket answer as to whether churches in Oregon can legally refuse to allow gay groups to rent out their spaces. That depends on “the unique facts of each case,” she said. She also pointed to an exception in the state’s anti-discrimination law that allows religious groups to discriminate based on sexual orientation under some circumstances.

Aimee Green,Business Says Its Reputation Tanked After Shunning LBGTQ Group Sues for $2.3MOregon Live (May 26, 2018).

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  1. I have suggested to my church and will do so again at the next board meeting, that we establish a written bylaw, that our facility may be used only by person or persons who have a genuine relationship with the church, specifically membership and commitment demonstrated by regular attendance. In this way any couple, regardless of gender or genders, who does not have this relationship will not be permitted to use the facility. Also the facility will not be rented to any person, but those using it may be held responsible for cleaning up. I expect that such should cover this issue. And I really do not understand why anyone who does not have a relationship with a church would expect to be able to use its facilities.

    • This is a very good suggestion, all churches which affirm Scripture should be thinking ahead as very bad times seem to be coming. However, based on family experience, I would point out a problem. My Southern Baptist in-laws have been consistent church goers their whole lives, donating generously to their local SB church. They also affirm their lesbian daughter, my sister in law. I could see them trying to use church facilities for, say, a lesbian wedding, then causing a lot of grief if denied by the church. There are a number of Christians in the pews these days in this situation. How does the church handle this?

      • Wesley,

        Wisdom is the order of the day. It is also important here to distinguish Christ and culture. This is not always easy to do but we must try. E.g., let us ask, for what purpose is the church building? It is principally for the gathering of believers to conduct Christian worship, Christian education, and to facilitate fellowship. it is principally for the members of the congregation to use for those purposes.

        Others, non-members of all sorts, are welcome to attend Christian worship, Christian education classes, and even to participate in some fellowship but there are limits on their participation. E.g., if someone is not a Christian or is not a member of a congregation with what we describe in Belgic Confession art 29 as “the marks of the true church,” then they may not come to the Lord’s Table. If someone does not make a profession of faith, they are not eligible to receive the Lord’s Supper.

        As to weddings, one could restrict the use of the building to members only but perhaps it might be useful to think about whether a wedding is belongs to the category “Christ” or “culture.” After all, we recognize weddings performed by civil magistrates and other authorized parties. Clearly it is not exclusively a “Christian” function since it is a matter of creation and not redemption. Yes, there are Christian weddings and Christians ought to marry in the Lord but that doesn’t entail the use of a church building. I’m a Protestant and don’t see marriage as a sacrament.

        What did Christians do about weddings before they had church buildings? These are diagnostic/historical questions that will help us as travel further down the road post-Christendom.

  2. If someone does make a profession of faith, they are not eligible to receive the Lord’s Supper.

    Add “NOT ”
    If someone does NOT make a profession of faith, they are not eligible to receive the Lord’s Supper.

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