Seventh-day Adventist members and leaders in Vermont expressed grave disappointment at the governor’s signing of the bill that now gives gays and lesbians entering into so-called civil unions the same rights and recognition as married couples.
The statement came today in an interview with Pastor Don King, communication director for the Adventist Church in the northeastern United States, and Pastor Ben Schoun, president of the Church in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, as a direct response to the unpopular action taken by that state’s House of Representatives, Tuesday, and the governor’s approval that followed yesterday.
“As religious freedom activists, we certainly don’t wish to deny any human their rights, but we also cannot sanction human wrongs,” King said. “The measure taken by the governor brings us just one step closer to legalizing same-sex marriages outright, therefore, our constituents feel
they cannot support it.”
The reason, Schoun says, is because his local members stand by their Biblical beliefs on homosexuality.
“Seventh-day Adventists uphold the plan of God recorded in Holy Scripture that establishes marriage as a unique relationship between one man and one woman. Intimate relationships between those of the same gender are not included in this plan. We, however, disavow hatred, violence, and other mistreatment of those who have a homosexual orientation or lifestyle. Instead, we believe that Christians should minister to these individuals offering the power of the gospel to live within God’s plan,” he said.
Concerning the lack of support for the state House vote, Schoun explained: “The term civil union as being considered by the state of Vermont appears to be simply a cosmetic distinction from that of marriage. The proposed law will contain the same rights, protections, and privileges as does marriage with the only distinction being the name that is applied to the union of those of the same gender.”
The governing body of the Adventist world Church addressed the issue of homosexuality and same sex marriages last October. The official position on the issue can be found at www.adventist.org/beliefs/main_stat46.html .
Eighty-six thousand of the nearly one million Seventh-day Adventists in North America, live in the northeastern United States. They operate one college and more than a dozen elementary and high schools, community service centers, and health care facilities in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and in the country of Bermuda.