3 Ways Pastors Can Lead the Way Forward on Marriage

August 18, 2015

Over a month ago, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on same-sex marriage. Now that five justices have redefined marriage for the nation, many Christians are wondering, so what now? Where do we go from here?

Pastors, you have an unprecedented opportunity to lead the way forward on marriage.

The way forward is staying engaged in marriage. Understandably, many pastors fear that they will be forced to perform same-sex weddings. Some have even stopped signing state marriage licenses altogether.

But pastors still have complete freedom to choose who they will marry — believer or unbeliever, heterosexual or homosexual, church member or otherwise — and to refuse to perform ceremonies that violate their faith. To learn more about the legal issues related to civil marriage (including whether or not pastors legally become state agents by signing marriage licenses), download Alliance Defending Freedom’s memorandum here.

The way forward is rebuilding a strong marriage culture. In a culture that embraces not only same-sex marriage, but also rampant no-fault divorce and cohabitation, pastors have the opportunity to rekindle a vibrant marriage culture in a society that no longer understands what marriage is, much less what it is for.

This means celebrating, teaching, and promoting God’s design for marriage. It means coming alongside those experiencing marital struggles, encouraging them to stay the course. And it means winsomely proclaiming marriage’s purpose of connecting children to both their mother and father.

Redefining marriage redefines parenthood. Marriage offers children their best chance of being raised in a stable, loving home by both their mother and father. Same-sex marriage creates a family structure that always deprives children of one, or both, of their biological parents. But children need the unique and irreplaceable gifts that both mom and dad bring to their family.

Just ask Katy Faust. Katy was raised in a low-conflict, affectionate household by two women. But Katy had an insatiable longing for the involvement, attention and love of her father. Two women — no matter how loving — could not fill that void. Katy is one of several courageous men and women who were raised by a parent in a same-sex relationship and who are now speaking out for man-woman marriage. By sharing their stories, these adults hope that future children will have the opportunity to know and be raised by both their mom and their dad. Visit to learn more.

The way forward is also taking steps to protect your ministry from potential legal threats. Alliance Defending Freedom developed a free legal guide to help churches, Christian schools and other ministries proactively prepare for legal challenges involving same-sex marriage, sexual orientation or gender identity. This resource offers simple, effective ways for ministries to protect their freedom to remain a compassionate but faithful gospel witness in today’s culture. Download your free copy of Protecting Your Ministry at

Pastors, even in the wake of a disheartening Supreme Court decision and massive cultural change, let’s press forward to seek the good of our nation. Marriage is our future.

Christiana Holcomb

Christiana Holcomb serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Christian Ministries. Since joining ADF in 2012, Holcomb has worked to defend the constitutionally protected freedom of churches, religious schools, and Christian ministries to exercise their faith without government interference. Holcomb … Read More