I'm an Episcopalian, an Anglican. That means that, following the lead of our seminal theologian Richard Hooker (1554-1600), I look at religious questions from three perspectives using three sources of authority: Holy Scripture, tradition, and reason. On the question of whether the committed, loving relationships of couples of the same sex should be blessed by the church and recognized by the state, the scriptural perspective is usually the only one the opponents of "same-sex marriage" address. They have been answered adequately on many occasions by others much more able to debate scripture than I am. Based on their analyses, I am satisfied that the Bible does not condemn homosexual relationships. It condemns perversion of human relationships, but that is quite a different thing. There is nothing perverted about two people (whatever their sexes may be) committing themselves to a life-long, mutually supportive, loving, and committed union.
In this essay, I shall examine marriage and the sacrament of matrimony from the standpoint of tradition, starting with two observations about marriage in the Christian church. The first is from an historian and Episcopal theologian, the Rev. Dr. Earl H. Brill:
The second is from a Roman Catholic scholar, Dr. Joseph Martos, former director of the Russell Institute of Religion and Ministry at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky:
"Relatively early in the history of Christianity, marriage was regarded as a sacrament in the broad sense, but it was only in the 12th Century that it came to be regarded as a sacrament in the same sense as baptism and the other official sacraments. In fact, before the 11th Century there was no such thing as a Christian wedding ceremony and throughout the Middle Ages there was no single church ritual for solemnizing marriages between Christians. It was only after the Council of Trent, because of the need to eliminate abuses in the practice of private marriages, that a standard Catholic wedding rite came into existence." (Doors to the Sacred, Doubleday, New York: 1982, p. 399)