AOCI’s RESPONSE TO THE RECENT RULING ON MARRIAGE by Dr. Henry Vazquez, President of AOCI
The United States of America had a recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage on Friday, June 26th. The court voted that all 50 US states and territories are required to recognize marriages between same-sex couples by permitting them to obtain a marriage license. It is still NOT clear how this will affect churches and clergy. There was NO explicit religious exemption provided in the ruling and a lack of clarity in regards to the churches of America. According to some lawyers' claims, it may be a sign that more legal challenges and hurtles are in store for churches. One of the major concerns is this: a minister acts on behalf of the state as an officiate because he/she signs the marriage license making the marriage legal. This position can be a loop whole for legal issues to arise. This is because at the conclusion of the marriage ceremony, it is stated by the presiding minister: "By the authority invested in me by God and the state of ______, I now pronounce you husband and wife." But since the Supreme Court of the United States has made this decision, all marital regulations have been transferred into the hands of the Federal Government.
Members of the AOCI and Students of ABTI, I want to be clear and assure you that our stance shall remain that marriage is between a man and a woman. God has ordained marriage to be between a natural born man and natural born woman. No state or government should ever rule over the mandates of our LORD. The "first" marriage recorded in the Bible was between a natural born man and a natural born woman, not people of the same sex. God intended this to be the model for marriage and He intends for us to follow His model for all of humankind. We need to stand firm in the biblical belief and not waiver.
Below I have outlined what AOCI members MUST abide by.
Definition of Marriage & AOCI’s Stance on Homosexuality:
►We resolve that as a matter of belief, doctrine, and religious practice, The AOCI Fellowship reserves the term "marriage" for the covenant relationship between (naturally born) one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, which has always been our belief.
Member Participation in the Solemnization and Celebration of Marriage:
We resolve that members of the AOCI Fellowship, both laity and clergy, will be allowed to arrange for, officiate at, or take part in the solemnization or celebration of a marriage only when it conforms to AOCI’s statements regarding marriage. We believe the Bible teaches that marriage is intended by God to be a life-long covenant of fidelity between a man and a woman symbolizing the relationship of Christ and His Church. This biblical and traditional understanding of marriage is the basis of strong, healthy families; and is therefore to be nourished and defended by the local church, ministries and all members of the AOCI.
►The AOCI is fully convinced that according to Scripture (see references below) that God is opposed to homosexuality and the gay lifestyle; we also understand that He seeks to forgive and restore all who come to Him. It is our belief that homosexuals are sinners like everyone and need God's forgiveness. We believe they can be set free from the power of this sin and live a changed lifestyle. We believe we are to love the person caught in this deception but as the church we are called to make a stand against the unrighteousness of this practice.
Homosexuality comes against God's divine plan for the human race in that homosexual couples cannot procreate as commanded in Genesis. It not only perverts the order of marriage established in the Garden of Eden but also brings the possibility of disease in the body and distress in a person's emotions and spirit.
To be clear, it is for the reasons listed above and the foundation of the scriptures listed below, that the AOCI Executive Board forbids its members (and credentialed members) to perform, sanction, bless, or attend any type of marriage, cohabitation, or covenant ceremony of persons of the same sex. To do so will result in the immediate dismissal of membership and any member holding AOCI credentials shall become inactive.
Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26, 27, and I Corinthians 6:9-10