Churches Plan Prayer For Plaintiffs In Same-Sex Marriage Ban Cases

12 Pastors And Rabbis Who Have Pledged Support For Marriage Equality Will Lead Congregations In Prayer


Several church congregations in Wisconsin and Indiana this weekend will be praying for the eight couples who are challenging same-sex marriage bans in the two states.

Pastors at the churches have signed a pledge in support of marriage equality that states in part that “eliminating discrimination in civil marriage will not impinge upon religious doctrine or practice.”

Reverend Susan Zencka of the Frame Memorial Presbyterian Church in Stevens Point is one of 12 Wisconsin pastors and rabbis who signed the pledge. She said that striking down the bans on same-sex marriage is a way to reaffirm the constitutional separation between church and state.

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“Creating marriage equality under law will not mandate that any church do a wedding for any person ever,” she said. “We have, as ministers, utter freedom about who we do and do not do weddings for. So as a matter of civil law, it strikes me as very important to achieve marriage equality.”

A U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel will hear arguments challenging the same-sex marriage bans in the two states on Tuesday. Zencka said the plan to pray for the couples who are challenging the bans is not about trying to influence the court’s decision, but rather is meant to comfort the couples during a stressful time in their lives.

“We’re praying for them because of the stresses they have been under not being able to have the formal blessing from the state and the legal rights that that confers,” she said. “I can’t imagine how stressful it is to be carrying that work forward.”

Whatever the ruling from the court of appeals in the Wisconsin and Indiana cases ends up being, it will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia already have removed all legal barriers to same-sex marriages.