I was present when the resolution came to the floor and would have tweaked it a bit by using the term “sex” instead of “gender” (the collapse of sex — biological particularity — into gender is one of the great confusions of our age); establishing the moral ground of natural marriage more firmly (the natural is never separated from the sacramental thus the moral validity of heterosexual marriage precedes the sacramental expression of it); avoiding the term “orientation” (it clouds theological notions of ontology) and a few other items.
However, we were voting on a resolution, not a theological apologetic so I passed on the comments and voted yes.
Resolution to Oppose the Recent United States Supreme Court Decision That Held the “Defense of Marriage Act” Unconstitutional
WHEREAS, on June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court, in the case entitled “United States v. Windsor”, following much controversy, ruled that the law known as the “Defense of Marriage Act”, (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court case of Windsor invalidated Section 3 of the “Defense of Marriage Act”, which defines marriage in all federal statutes as the union of one man and one woman. By invalidating Section 3, of “DOMA” the Court in Windsor now permits all federal agencies to redefine marriage to include unions of two people of the same sex.
WHEREAS, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, under the direct leadership of his Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba), and the Archdiocesan Synod, continues to shepherd its faithful members throughout all of North America, and as such, are deeply concerned about the recent developments regarding “same sex marriage”.
WHEREAS, the Holy Orthodox Church recognizing marriage to be a Sacramental Union teaches that marriage and sexuality, which are firmly grounded in Holy Scripture; Two thousand years of church tradition; and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman and that authentic marriage is blessed by Almighty God as a Holy Sacrament of the Church.
WHEREAS, The Holy Scripture attests that God created man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a woman a new reality of “one flesh” This can only be achieved in a relationship between individuals of opposite gender. “God made them male and female…So they are no longer two but one flesh” ( Mark 10:6-8).
WHEREAS, the Holy Orthodox Church also teaches that the union between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage reflects the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). As such, marriage is necessarily monogamous and heterosexual. Within this union, sexual relations between a husband and wife are to be cherished and protected as a sacred expression of their love that has been blessed by God. Such was God’s plan for His human creatures from the very beginning.
WHEREAS, the Holy Orthodox Church is cognizant that God’s divine purpose is increasingly questioned, challenged or denied by society, i.e. as secularism, relativism, social and political pressures work to normalize and legalize “same sex” unions.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, this 51st Archdiocesan Convention, duly assembled at Houston, Texas, from July 21-28, 2013, resolves through the hierarchy, clergy and laity of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America: that the Holy Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless “same sex” unions of any degree. It is further resolved that marriage between a man and a woman is a Sacramental Union ordained by God, homosexual unions are not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). However, this being said, we must stress that a person with a homosexual orientation is to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all sinners. All persons are called by God to strive toward holiness.