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Mark Pettis, Moorhead, Published June 22 2012

Consider morality and immorality in Minn. marriage equality debate

Ken Sims’ letter to the editor of June 18 makes truth claims based on his interpretation of the Bible and of his faith tradition. They are put forth as to represent the views of all people of faith, using a quote from Billy Graham as evidence of orthodoxy on the matter of equal marriage. Further, his letter suggests that any departure from his viewpoint is a departure from morality.

While I respect Sims’ views as one faithful perspective on the matter of equal marriage, as a person of faith and a minister, I do not acknowledge what I consider to be a limited and limiting opinion to be the only faithful perspective on the matter of equal marriage. In fact, I would suggest that, as with most issues of faith, illustrated by the sheer number of churches and denominations, there are multiple faithful perspectives.

And further, to suggest that those who do not agree with Sims’ views are not moral is reprehensible.

The institution of marriage does not need to be protected from the idea of equal marriage. Instead, the institution of marriage would be strengthened by equal marriage. Any time a loving, committed couple covenants with one another and with God in marriage, all marriages are strengthened. For such couples are a testament to fidelity and a model for mutual self-giving.

If all that God revealed in the world stood in the past, recorded in the pages of the Bible and in the written tradition of the church, then faithful consideration of issues such as marriage could be assigned to history classes. However, as people of faith, we believe that God is continuing to be revealed in our world. We cannot rest on archaic interpretations of Scripture to define what is right or moral in our faith. We must continue to listen for God’s ongoing revelation and prayerfully consider what this means in our time.

It is my strong belief that our society and our world is blessed by loving, caring, dedicated relationships – marriages based in faith. And I believe that such marriages – be they between a man and woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman – are not just moral but are a living symbol of the love of God for all God’s people. Furthermore, if we are debating morality, it is immoral to deny equal rights to gay and lesbian couples in our state.

I would strongly urge a “no” vote on the proposed amendment, and I look forward to the day when equal marriage is a reality in our state and nation.

Pettis is a Moorhead clergyman.