Good Hope MCC statement on same-sex marriages

September 18, 2006

CAPE TOWN — Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church (GHMCC) believes that any person who wishes to enter into marriage should have the right to do so and that religious communities should have the right to decide whether or not they will provide religious services to sanctify that marriage.

This past weekend has seen protest marches by different religious groups. "Many of those who speak out against gay people have hardly any actual facts about gay or lesbian people. Those who would lecture homosexual people on the so-called immorality of their lives don't know the first thing about how they actually live." says Sharon Cox, member of the Council of Good Hope MCC.

Good Hope MCC is aware of various religious groups objecting to homosexuality from their interpretation of the bible; however these interpretations or dogma only hold true within their own denomination and these groups do not speak for all Christians per se.

Good Hope MCC believes firmly that every person is created in the image of God and is loved by their Creator irrespective of their sexual orientation. Certain verses in the bible are used in isolation to dangerously discriminate against minorities – this is nothing new, at one point – race was an issue. Not many fundamentalist denominations would argue that woman should not be allowed to speak in church or would condone slavery on the basis of the bible. Biblical values should never be used to exclude or discriminate.

"Same Sex Marriage is not and should not be a religious debate, it is a question of equality and human rights. In a democratic society our judges and public servants are supposed to follow the law and do what is right, not what may be popular at the moment or bend to appease any one particular group at the expense of another. Discrimination was never and will never be right.", said Cox.

By granting same sex couples the right to marry takes nothing away from marriage and neither does it in any way infringe on the rights of another person.

The Legislature in this country should listen carefully to the ruling of the Constitutional Court and incorporate the inclusion of same-sex couples into the current Marriage Act instead of looking for alternatives to create "2nd class marriages" in order to justify "traditional Christian values". The decision to marry a couple – irrespective of their gender – will still be within the power of each denomination to decide upon, but the right to be married in front of a state official must be available to every citizen of this country as set out by the Constitutional Court.

Same-sex couples build their lives together like other couples, have committed relationships, work hard at their jobs, volunteer in their neighbourhoods, and value the responsibilities and love that their family commitments provide to them and to the children they may have. These families have everyday concerns, like being financially sound and emotionally and physically healthy.

When opposite sex couples apply for a marriage license, the state does not ask them whether their relationship is worthy of its recognition, because the government has no business deciding whom a person should marry. It is a completely private, personal choice that every individual has the right to make for him or herself – a basic principle that should hold true equally for same-sex couples. Stating that gay and lesbian people don't have a right to marriage does not uphold any values, it only serves to devalue love, human dignity, and coherent, caring families.

Having the choice to marry is full equality. A separate, gay-only institution is no equality at all.

Good Hope Metropolitan Community Churches urges the general public and politicians to re-think their position towards the "Bill of Rights" as defined in the constitution. The bill of rights is and was intended to ensure that no minority groups are excluded from equality in this country. – Issued by Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church

Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church (GHMCC) in Cape Town is a congregation of Metropolitan Community Churches, a worldwide movement in more than 22 countries with an inclusive, affirming ministry to the heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersexed community. GHMCC celebrates its worship services every Sunday, 18h00 at Zonnebloem College Chapel, Cambridge Street, Zonnebloem/District Six. More information about GHMCC can be found online on www.goodhopemcc.org.

For more information, interviews or queries, please contact Sharon Cox on 083 2933923 or sharon@goodhopemcc.org

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