Should a Christian attend a same-sex wedding?
While the answer to this comes down to a simple “yes” or “no”, arriving there is fraught with complexity. It requires we attempt to think Biblically, rather than emotionally. Which is not to say emotions won’t come in to play; they will. But our decision needs to be arrived at based on the principles revealed in God’s Word. We don’t have a “rule” here. To my limited knowledge, we don’t have a definitive passage to turn to that would chart our course in knowing whether or not we ought to attend a gay wedding ceremony. What we need to do is enter the more difficult process of gleaning Biblical principles and determining what the wise and God-honoring course is.*
Our culture is in the throes of dealing with same-sex marriage both legally and relationally. There’s a good chance many, if not most, of us will soon face the challenge of knowing how to respond to an invitation to a same-sex wedding or civil union. What’s a Christian to do?
Faced with the prospect of this decision, I’ve seen the response of several Christians who assume the loving thing to do is to go; to attend a same-sex wedding of a relative or friend. Is it indeed the loving thing to do? It’s certainly supportive. Ought the Follower of Jesus be supportive of a homosexual lifestyle? We’ll come back to that.
While a wedding ceremony is a cultural-social event, it is also a sacred event at which those who attend are assigned the duty of bearing witness to the covenant entered by the Groom and Bride. An ordained minister presides over most weddings, because Western societies recognize the roots of marriage in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Because of the separation of Church and State that exists in modern society, civil magistrates have also been delegated authority to sanction marriage. But for hundreds of years prior to that, marriage was conducted within the realm of the Church. Otherwise King Henry VIII could have just divorced Catherine via a civil court and used a Justice of the Peace to marry Anne. The point is, until recently, marriage was recognized as a sacred covenant that linked a man and woman before God.
Guests at a wedding are called as witnesses of that sacred covenant. They are there to do more than throw rice and eat cake. They are there to hold the Groom and Bride accountable to the vow they hear them make. Witnesses aren’t just passive attenders; they have an on-going assignment to support the couple in their life together.
The secularization of modern society has altered people’s perception of institutions and relationships. A Biblical worldview has been replaced by secular humanism, even among many Christians. The proof of that is the growing capitulation of churches to an acceptance of same-sex relationships.
Christians cannot both seek to follow Jesus faithfully and accept homosexuality. The Bible is clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin. Please note that I did not say same-sex attraction is sin. Truth be told, there are many same-sex attracted believers who refuse to indulge in homosexuality because they recognize it as sin. The courageous and valiant battle they endure is being trivialized by the church’s growing capitulation to the homosexual agenda.
All sex outside of marriage is sinful and ought to be resisted and rejected by Christians. This includes fornication, adultery, and the exploitation and objectification of others in pornography. Someone will respond, “Right. So let’s accept same-sex marriage so people can marry and then it won’t be sin anymore.”
This is where we come back to what we saw before. Marriage is a sacred covenant, the parameters of which are sanctioned by God. Since His Word makes clear marriage is between a man and a woman and the practice of homosexuality is sinful, two men or women cannot marry. Marriage IS the sacred covenant of a man and woman to be a life-long spouse to and for the other. If it isn’t that, then it isn’t a real marriage, regardless of what society says.
We come back around now to the original question: Ought a Christian attend the wedding of a same-sex couple?
Understanding that marriage is sanctioned by God, that HE is the one Who makes two into one, and that marriage is a sacred covenant of a man and woman to be husband and wife; and seeing that the people who attend a wedding have an assignment to be witnesses who endorse and support that sacred covenant, how COULD a Christian attend?
Those who attend are giving assent, approval and support of that union. They are endorsing a relationship that promotes sin.
The Homosexual Agenda pushes hard for the legalization of same-sex marriage because they aim for the acceptance of their LIFESTYLE. They yearn for it to be accepted as “normal.”
Those who attend a same-sex wedding because “it’s the loving thing to do” need to ask who they are loving. Will a homosexual couple find real and lasting happiness? Since all sin leads to grief, no, they will not. So it’s not loving a same-sex couple to attend their wedding; it’s harmful because it commends and endorses a false promise.
Nor is it loving God to attend a same-sex wedding. It’s saying what He’s designed for marriage doesn’t matter; that we know better than He about who can marry and what sexual relations are acceptable.
In all things, God in His great love aims for our flourishing. The principles of morality revealed in Scripture all point to enhancing life, never to diminish it. When we follow God’s prescriptions for life, especially in regard to sex, we flourish. When we ignore them, we suffer. There is no ambiguity in God’s Word that sex is to be between a husband and wife within the confines of the sacred covenant of marriage. Any and everything outside of that leads to sorrow.
That is the message Christians ought to be loudly and proudly presenting today. We are NOT haters because we resist sin, in whatever form it takes. We are not against anyone’s “rights.” On the contrary, we are the world’s chief advocates of that which makes for genuine human flourishing.
No one “loves” a same-sex attracted person by encouraging them to indulge their desires anymore than by encouraging a heterosexual to indulge their lust. The loving thing to do is to love God set our devotion to Him and His Word over all other considerations.
* A Final Note: While I have attempted to reason through this issue Biblically, we can probably class it in that realm of moral choices Paul describes in Romans 14 as a “disputable” or “doubtful” thing. As we follow Christ, we will need to make moral choices that are clearly defined in Scripture. Different people will come to different conclusions. The example Paul uses was over whether or not a Christian can eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol. Some said it was fine, others said it was prohibited. Paul didn’t resolve the issue by saying one was right, the other wrong. He said each of us must follow the dictates of a Spirit-informed conscience. And having done so, we are NOT to argue or judge each other. If I eat and you don’t, we can’t declaim one another’s spiritual walk or maturity. We are not to let our differences over these moral “gray-zones” harm our respect for one another.
I have laid out here what I think it a cogent & Biblically sound answer to the question, “Should a Christian attend the same-sex wedding?” I realize other Christ-followers arrive at a different conclusion. While I disagree with their positon, I still honor and respect them. I expect them do show me the same.