Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

3 Bumps

Have members of the Clergy *EVER* been forced BY LAW to marry people?

This is in response to the latest Gay Marriage question, where a few  Christians answered that "As long as ministers are not *forced* to marry gays..."


Has this ever happened with straight marriage? 

Has a priest/minister (or any other member of the clergy) ever been forced by law against his will to marry a man and woman he didn't approve of? 

Do people REALLY think that would happen if LGBT folk were allowed to legally marry*?  Why? 





*By "legally marry" I'm referring to standing before a Judge or a willing member of the clergy. 


Asked by MamaK88 at 11:09 AM on Mar. 20, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 33 (62,090 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I cannot think of one instance of that happening. I know of many being turned away by ministers and preachers and priests because they were not comfortable doing the service. But I never heard of such a person being forced to perform the ceremony against his will.

    Answer by purpleducky at 11:17 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • No, and anyone who does try to sue over it (for the money or the fame, it won't be because they really want to get married in a certain place that won't do it) is going to lose in court.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:11 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • i think this idea stems from the lawsuits LGBT ppl have brought against business who refused to do their photographers, wedding planners, etc. they just assume clergy will be sued as well.

    Answer by okmanders at 6:35 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • No normally they cannot be asked to do something they do not believe in doing. That is the point of having freedom of religion. Now if someone goes to the court house I am not sure if that would be the same, since a justice of the peace would not really be considered a priest or minister working from his or her church and representing a congregation.

    Answer by gemgem at 11:39 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I don't believe so... in fact, I know of a couple of people who have been told they cannot marry in, for instance, the Catholic Church. They did not meet the Church's standards for marriage within the Catholic Church. They simply went elsewhere.

    I'm in Ontario, where gay marriage has been legal for almost ten years. Churches who disagree with same sex marriage are not mandated to perform them, and no one has tried to make a legal issue of this. There are plenty of secular bodies and pro-gay marriage clergy who are willing to perform gay marriage ceremonies.

    Answer by Freela at 2:31 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Well, kinda... My Priest would not marry us before the baby was a year old. My mother, my MIL, my father and my FIL went over and told him if he didn't marry us before that there would be trouble.... LOL! My MIL could be very frightening! But, in normal circumstances, no.

    Answer by m-avi at 11:26 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Forced as in by court order-under threat of arrest or contempt of court-in the US- I highly doubt it- if it ever did happen, I think it would be all over the news and part of the gay marriage debate as an example of the power the US govt has over church marriage-

    Answer by soyousay at 11:51 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Good point, okmanders. There have also been lawsuits against Catholic Charities offices for their policy of only placing children with married Christian man-woman couples (causing some of them to decide to discontinue their adoption programs rather than violate their beliefs).

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 11:17 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • No. It has never happened. The instances of lawsuits had to do with discrimination laws, not gay marriage.

    Answer by KelleyP77 at 10:19 AM on Mar. 21, 2011