The Ministers Affirmation on Marriage


John C. Rankin

In 2003 and 2005, the Ministers Affirmation on Marriage was published in the Hartford Courant, first by 200 signatories on short notice, then by 700, and later edited for national purposes. Yet no supporter of same-sex marriage ever raised one public objection. The content and tenor of the affirmation proved above reproach, at least in that circumstance and thus far. Here it is below. Now, in view of the 2015 United States Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage, I have built upon it at


An Affirmation by Ministers of the Gospel and Christian Leaders:

Yes to Man and Woman in Marriage
No to Same-Sex Marriage

First, we affirm that the unalienable rights of life, liberty and property, and hence the power to pursue happiness, are given by the Creator to all people equally, as individual people, regardless of religion, sexual identity or other criteria. This affirmation is rooted uniquely in the assumptions and trajectory of Genesis 1-2, and reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

We also affirm that the Creator defines human sexuality in the context of the marriage of one man and one woman in mutual fidelity. Here, the equality and complementary of male and female serves diversity in service to unity, uniquely providing the necessary social adhesive of trust, which is then modeled for our children.

In human history, no society rooted in the approval of homosexuality, in any capacity, has ever produced unalienable rights for the larger social order.

Nonetheless, same-sex marriage has been advanced, without historical precedent, as a de facto unalienable right (“basic” or “fundamental”). Therefore, we believe same-sex marriage advocates need to answer four questions:

  1. Are unalienable rights being redefined?
  2. If so, why?
  3. If so, what is the new basis for these rights?
  4. If so, what are the consequences? For example, would the “right” to same-sex marriage thus prevail over the religious, political and economic liberty to dissent from it? And, can a descent into “might make right” thus be averted?

Second, “sexual orientation” is changeable, even if deeply present in one’s psyche, and there is no scientific basis for a supposed genetic or social determinism to homosexuality. Therefore, we believe same-sex marriage advocates need to answer two further questions:

  1. What is the evidence that homosexuality is a fixed and “immutable trait,” and thus equal to an objective class of people for separate civil rights purposes?
  2. What prevents any other group of people from claiming a subjective identity as a civil rights class?

Unless these six questions are answered with clarity and substance, then same-sex marriage advocates have not sustained their position.

And finally, we affirm these words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

For those who struggle with homosexual temptation, or any other temptation, Jesus invites us to come to him, and on his terms. We too, as ministers of the Gospel, and leaders in the church, have the exact same need, daily, to seek God’s grace to overcome any range of temptations that may come our way – as is common with all people.

Jesus affirms marriage as defined in the biblical order of creation, he fulfilled the Law of Moses that says no to homosexual actions, and the apostle Paul ratifies the same. Therefore, those who wish to be reconciled with the biblical understanding of Jesus are invited to affirm marriage as one man and one woman, and to eschew all other definitions of human sexuality.

All people are created as image-bearers of God, seeking peace, order, stability and hope; to live, to love, to laugh and to learn. The question is whether we seek these qualities on our Creator’s own terms, or on our own broken terms. And we are all broken, in one way or another, apart from the healing power of the Gospel.