Same-sex marriage has been a hot-button issue in today's culture, but nowhere has the issue been more divisive than the religious world.
Mainline Christian denominations have debated the topic for many years, with some splintering over the matter of ordination of gay clergy and the blessing same-sex unions.
So no one was surprised when President Barack Obama's recent statement of support for same-sex marriage also resulted in controversy. Obama's statement, made during a May 9 interview on ABC, has religious as well as political implications, many local clergy say.
“It's a hot-potato subject right now,” said the Rev. J.A. Reed, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in northeast Oklahoma City.
The Rev. Lee Cooper Jr., senior pastor of Prospect Baptist Church, agreed.
“All of our churches have gay and lesbian people in our congregations. We don't like to bring it up, but it is important for us to discuss it,” he said.
“One of things we can't afford to do as Christians is to take a total stance of condemnation. We have to walk in love and compassion.”
The Rev. Ben Brammer, senior pastor of Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, said he does not agree with the president's statement.
Brammer said the issue is complex.
“Contrary to views that seem to pick and choose Bible verses that support their beliefs, I believe that a holistic, literal interpretation of all of God's Word does not leave room for same-sex marriage. However, it is not the only societal issue that derives from the inherent sin nature of human beings,” Brammer said.