Church of God Issues Statement on Senate Action

Cleveland, TN–On Tuesday, November 29, the United States Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act. The vote has been characterized as a landmark bipartisan vote. The legislation will now be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives during the current “lame duck” session, and if passed, will be sent to the President to be signed into law.

While the legislation would not nationally require states to legalize same-sex marriage, it would require that states recognize another state’s position of legal marriage. The bill would also ensure that the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages. In addition, the bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, enacted into law in 1996, which defined marriage solely as between a man and a woman. While there are supposedly provisions in the Respect for Marriage Act that provide for religious exemptions, many are calling for additional clarification regarding religious liberty and the protection of religious beliefs concerning marriage.

Over recent years, the Church of God has repeatedly noted by doctrine and stated resolutions that we “affirm our commitment to the Word of God and its ever-present defense of marriage as a holy and sacred union between one man and one woman.” Further, the Church of God clearly stands in “opposition to the rising trend toward legitimizing homosexual unions.” In 2016, the Church of God General Assembly resolved, “the unequivocal testimony of the Holy Bible is that homosexual activity deviates from the standard God has established for human life, and so-called homosexual marriages cannot be understood morally and biblically as the equivalent of marriage.”

As Christians, we exhort believers to live in moral purity and demonstrate Christ’s love to all those they encounter. To unbelievers, we reach out with love and compassion. However, we cannot condone sinful sexual behavior that violates the sanctity of marriage. The Church of God continues to strongly affirm its belief and practice that marriage is a holy and sacred union between one man and one woman. In light of the pending legislative action on this matter, we encourage Church of God constituents to contact their Members of Congress within the next day or so to express their opposition to the Respect for Marriage Act.

These are turbulent times! General Overseer Tim Hill and the International Executive Committee call the Church of God to prayer for divine intervention in America and for the preservation of the sanctity of marriage.

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