What sample forms are available that outline the CRC stance on refusing to perform same-sex marriages?

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I am interested in sample forms to include in our church's constitution that outline our stand and refusal to perform same sex marriages.

I have searched several resources and have not been able to find any such sample form.

Is it neccesary to involve a lawyer to draw this up to have it included in our constitution?

Can anyone help me with this?

 

Henk

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Hi Henk!  I hope you and Smithville CRC are well!

I seem to recall our lawyer suggesting not to include a statement about this in our Society Act, but I don't remember why.  However, he did suggest that noting this in our rental policy is a prudent thing to do.  He referred to a case where someone asked to use some church facility for a marriage; the church said 'yes' and only afterwards found out it was a same-sex couple.  When the church wanted to back out of the rental arrangement, the couple took the church to court.  If I recall our lawyer's take on the situation, the court case could have been prevented if the church's rental policy noted this in the first place.  (Please do not construe this as official legal advice!)

So, our rental policy now includes this paragraph in its notices section:

[quote]Church rentals are at the discretion of the church council.  The church limits the use of the church facilities to church-approved programs and purposes that are consistent with the church’s beliefs.  In the case of rentals for wedding ceremonies and/or receptions, the church has a policy in which it is recognized that marriage is an institution ordained by God.  It is a covenant relationship established by mutual vows between a man and a woman united by God.  The church provides that all clergy under our employ and any retired pastors whose credentials we hold recognize marriage as an institution ordained by God, a covenant relationship between one man and one woman.[/quote]

We were advised to avoid the language of "lifelong covenant relationships;" if we tolerate divorce and remarriage, it could jeopardizethe entire statement.

If you're interested, our entire rental policy is here.

Peace,
Stan

Hi Stanley,

 

Good to hear from you. You must still have a special spot in your heart for Smithville to reply to my question.

It so happened we had an executive meeting just after I received your reply.

Of course I would like to know why your lawyer adviced against putting a statement in your constitution (Society Act)

Perhaps someone reading this can give a reason for not putting it in a Church Constitution.

I appreciate the advice on rental policy.

 

Hope you and Monica are well,

 

God bless,

 

Henk ten Oever

Hi Henk,

We similarly only include this info as part of our rental policy. 

In thinking about this it likely isn't a requirement to be in the constitution since the constitution references the Church Order which includes Article 69 c. on only performing marriages that are not "in conflict with the Word of God." 

Similarly, the pastor is actually the one that is performing the ceremony with the building rental as the location.  The church itself doesn't do the marrying - just hosting the pastor during the ceremony.  I realize that's maybe an oversimpligication but I think it gets to the heart of the matter.

Blessings,
Chris Ritskes,
Hope Fellowship CRC, Courtice, ON

In Canada marriages are the responsibility between the couple and the minister only. If the couple likes to use the church, the church could say that they would not rent the church to a same sex couple.  If the couple are members of a CRC church, the elders may like to meet the couple if they want to be married. We should be very careful if the couple loves the Lord. If the minister does not want to marry them, the couple could go elsewhere to get married. 

To answer your question:  Since the church is not responsible for who gets married, it can not put it in their constitution.

August Guillaume