Adventists Against Prop 8 welcomes the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry. The Court’s decision effectively invalidates California’s unjust vote in favor of Proposition 8 of 2008 against same-sex marriage.
In the fall of 2008, more than 1,300 Seventh-day Adventists and friends of Adventists expressed their conviction that all Californians—straight and gay—who desire to live in a committed monogamous relationship should have access to the same recognition of marital rights, benefits, and privileges that heterosexual individuals enjoy. This expression arose out of our distinctly Adventist commitment to cherish the dignity of each human being as a child of God and to safeguard the liberty and conscience of all people. Today, some four years and seven months later, we celebrate an important milestone in the restoration of marriage equality in California.
We also welcome the Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This decision prevents the federal government from restricting the definition of marriage—and its benefits—to opposite-sex couples. The federal government will now recognize and award benefits to individuals in legal marriages, such as those now available once again to same-sex couples in California. Like the nullification of Prop 8, the Court’s invalidation of DOMA is a major landmark in the journey of justice. We rejoice that righteousness has visited this land.
The movement for marriage equality and justice for individuals of all sexual orientations, however, is far from over in the United States. While applauding the legalization of same-sex marriage now in twelve states and legal civil unions in seven states, we urge Adventists and people of faith in all states to champion marriage equality. We encourage our brothers and sisters to join the struggle for dignity, liberty, and humanity so that our nation can be made more whole.
As Adventists, we also recognize that our church continues to promote an attitude and a theology that views gays and lesbians as second-class members of God’s family. We must stop promoting a “shut door” theology of ignorance and prejudice. We must revisit and re-envision our theology of humanity, sex, family, and gender identity, in light of Scripture, history, culture, science, and the reality of human relationships. We must make neither moral nor theological judgment based on sexual orientation and affirm the truth that God is no respecter of persons, including their sexual orientations. We must not allow individuals to use church resources to promote a message of exclusion and discrimination. Adventists everywhere must, for Jesus’ sake, champion full recognition of gay and lesbian Adventists as members in good and regular standing in their congregations and as pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, and spiritual leaders, as they are called by God. With hope that burns within our hearts, we pray that the moral arc continue to bend toward justice in our beloved church, as it has in our nation today.
This statement represents the views of the undersigned but not necessarily everyone who signed the Adventists Against Prop 8 petition.
—Daneen Akers, Ryan Bell, Alexander Carpenter, Stephen Eyer, Jared Wright, et al.