WHEREAS, on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court, in the case entitled “Obergefell, et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al.,” by a marginal majority decision, held that no State may deny same-sex couples the right to marry; and that, in so doing, the Supreme Court has legally redefined the sacred, long-held, and profound meaning of marriage;
AND WHEREAS the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, under the direct leadership of his Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop JOSEPH (Al-Zehlaoui), and the hierarchy of the Archdiocese, continues to shepherd its faithful members throughout all of North America, and as such, is deeply concerned about the recent developments regarding “same-sex marriage”;
AND WHEREAS the Holy Orthodox Church, recognizing marriage to be a fundamental sacrament and institution, ordained only by God Himself, and teaching that marriage and sexuality, which are firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, two thousand years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of one man and one woman and that authentic marriage is blessed by Almighty God as a Holy Sacrament of the Church;
AND WHEREAS the Holy Scripture attests that God created man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27–31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a woman a new reality of “one flesh”; and that this can be achieved only in a relationship between individuals of opposite gender (“God made them male and female … So they are no longer two but one flesh”; Mark 10:6–8);
AND WHEREAS the Holy Orthodox Church also teaches that the union between one man and one woman in the Sacrament of Marriage reflects the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21–33) and, as such, marriage is necessarily monogamous and heterosexual; and that, within this union, sexual relations between a husband and wife are to be cherished and protected as a sacred expression of their love that has been blessed by God; and that such is God’s plan for His human creatures from the very beginning;
AND WHEREAS the Holy Orthodox Church is cognizant that God’s divine purpose is increasingly questioned and diminished, that is, challenged or denied, by a society influenced by secularism, relativism, and social and political pressures which have been working to normalize and legalize “same-sex unions”;
AND WHEREAS it is our duty to express Christian love that is honest and charitable, recognizing the struggles of all people from all kinds of sin, and we encourage each other toward sexual purity (“Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief”; 1 Timothy 1:15); and we encourage all Christians always to speak in charity and love, without denigration or mockery towards anyone; and we hold that all persons must be treated with respect and kindness while being called to living a Godly life;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this 52nd Archdiocesan Convention, duly assembled at Boston, Massachusetts, from July 20–26, 2015, reaffirms through the clergy and laity of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, that Christ by His presence at the Marriage Feast of Cana in Galilee declared marriage between one man and one women an honorable estate; that all Christians be lovingly called to sexual purity, holiness and repentance; that marriage cannot be redefined as a union between same-sex couples, and that no sexual activity outside of the Sacrament of Marriage between one man and one woman be blessed; that the Orthodox Church cannot and will not condone nor bless “same-sex unions” of any degree. It is further resolved that marriage between one man and one women is a sacred sacrament and institution ordained by God, and that homosexual unions are not. This being said, however, we must stress that a person with a homosexual orientation is to be cared for with the same compassion and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all persons.