A pastor in Brooklyn is so worried about the future of same-sex marriage now that Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed to the Supreme Court, he’s offering to officiate gay and lesbian weddings for free. Read on for the full story.
Brooklyn Pastor Says He’s Worried for Same-Sex Marriage Rights, Offers to Officiate for Free
Pastor David Parsons of the St. John-St. Matthew-Emanuel Lutheran Church is concerned about the risk to marriage equality rights, so he’s offering his officiant services free of charge to LGBTQIA+ couples. The Pastor recently announced his intentions on his Facebook page (screenshot below).
For those unable to view the screenshot, Parsons wrote:
The first wedding I performed after my ordination was for two women. Because they were the first to ask. If you are LGBTQIA+ and you and your beloved are feeling a fresh urgency to legally marry, I’m licensed in the state of New York, and will be honored to perform your ceremony at no charge. #togetherwerise
Pastor Parsons told News 12 that he made his offer in response to Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Barrett has ties to the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom and belongs to a church group that vehemently opposes marriage equality. While the pastor doesn’t necessarily oppose Barrett’s confirmation, he also doesn’t want to see same-sex couples lose their right to marry. He believes that love is love, and feels that it’s his duty as a pastor to welcome all people.
The overwhelmingly positive responses to the Pastor’s Facebook post are a welcome glimmer of sunlight during these dark times in American history. Betsy Brace writes of that first lesbian wedding ceremony performed by Parsons,
And the ceremony lives in our hearts and many minds as the event of a lifetime! David captured our hearts and the moment perfectly.
Another friend, David Ehlers, wrote:
Thank you for your ministry and compassion for all of Gods children.
Pastor Parsons joins other ministers offering free services to same-sex couples
Pastor Parsons isn’t alone in his offer to officiate over same-sex marriage free of charge. J. Bennett Guess, an ordained minister through the United Church of Christ and Executive Director at ACLUOhio shared the following on Facebook:
My clergy friends are busy offering to preside at same-sex marriage services for free before our rights are all undone by the new Supreme Court. I appreciate the kindness and charity. And I’ll do the same (message me)…
But I’ll do more, because going backward is unacceptable. I’ll work my ass off to ensure the new Congress passes a “Federal Marriage Equality Act” to make sure marriage equality is written into federal code — alongside the House-passed/Senate-ignored non-discrimination “Equality Act” — and also to pass a “Federal Reproductive Freedom Act” to enshrine Roe as the settled law of the land.
And, equally as important, a new and expanded “Voting Rights Act” that will prevent this new court from undermining our democracy and reinstituting Jim Crow.
And I’ll bless and pray over it all, too, while I’m at it.
Again, the responses were overwhelmingly positive, with fellow friends and pastors asking for “marching orders” and offering to help in any way they can. Heather Wicks writes,
As a UCC clergy (retired) I, too am willing to do same sex weddings, but also to help where I can to get that law passed!
Lorna Williams Littrell added
I am also a licensed minister and I am in the Fort Myers area-send any people you know in my area my way….I will be happy to perform their ceremony!FOR FREE….
A small step, but still a step in the right direction…
J. Bennet Guess later explains in the comment section that his words were an attempt at “subtle snark,” as he feels the offers of free services are short-sighted and “lacking in true compassion for what LGBTQ couples are fearing.” He writes:
We should be expressing much, much more solidarity than offering a mere freebie charitable worship service and a license signature.
While true that the LGBTQ community needs more than just free ceremonies to fight back against a Trump-stacked Supreme Court, their offers are far from trivial. Those who oppose same-sex marriage do so for exactly one reason (and one reason only): they believe it goes against their religion. If more religious leaders stand up for same-sex marriage, even if just by offering free services, it sends a message that being a “good Christian” means loving all people.
Parsons was ordained at St. John-St. Matthew-Emanuel Lutheran in Park Slope, Brooklyn in September, 2002, according to his Facebook post. He plans to continue marrying same-sex couple at no cost for at least the foreseeable future, according to News 12.
What do you think about the pastor offering free services to same-sex couples? Share below!
Nicole is the editor-in-chief and regular staff writer for LoveYouWedding. What does that mean? Basically, she handles all the day-to-day tasks related to managing writers and bringing you stellar content on planning the LGBTQ+ wedding of your dreams.
She loves writing about quirky and unique wedding ideas, probably because she’s pretty quirky herself!