The Gospel Coalition

[Note: Questions and Ethics is a new monthly series in which Dr. Russell Moore provides insight into how Christians should navigate through life's most challenging moral and ethical issues.]

Dear Dr. Moore,

I am an evangelical Christian, and I work as a wedding photographer. By conscience, I hold to an orthodox view of human sexuality, with all that entails. I've been asked to photograph a same-sex wedding service (legal in my state), and I've said no. I wonder if I did the right thing.

After all, this is a business, providing a service. Would it be right for me to refuse to serve a gay couple if I owned a restaurant? I don't think so.  If a same-sex marriage isn't a marriage at all (as the historic Christian view teaches), then how is this different from just photographing people at a birthday party or community festival (in which case it wouldn't matter what's happening with them sexually).

Moreover, I'm not sure that photographing an event is an endorsement of that event. I have photographed weddings of people who were divorced (and I didn't investigate the background), people who were probably cohabiting, people who were most likely unequally yoked to one another, and so on.

So I'm kind of caught. My conscience bothers me because I turned this couple down, and my conscience will bother me if I photograph this wedding. What do you think?

The Wedding Photographer

Dear WP,

Q&ELOGO-mainpageYou're right that this situation is more complicated than whether to serve someone at a restaurant (yes) regardless of that person's sexual or marital situation. I would also argue that the situation is very different from photographing some other event, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the clients' sexual or marital context. The fact that this is a wedding means there's a different moral question for you.

You are also right that your role as a wedding photographer is different from an officiating minister, a member of the wedding party, or even an invited guest. All of those people are part of the wedding itself, the assembled witnesses who affirm the lawfulness of the union and pledge to hold the couple accountable for their vows.

If you were, say, a photojournalist for a news service, there to report on the first same-sex marriage in your state, for instance, there would be no issue for your conscience. As a wedding photographer, though, you are in a third place between participant and neutral observer.

A same-sex wedding is different, I think, from the other problematic marriages you mentioned, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, while a biblical view of marriage would see that such people (fornicators, believers to unbelievers, unlawfully divorced, etc.) should not get married, and that the church has no authority to marry them, we also would affirm that such people, when married, actually are married. A pastor who joins a believer to an unbeliever bears an awful responsibility for doing something wrong, but the end result is an actual marriage.

The same-sex marriage differs not in terms of morality, but in terms of reality. It is not that homosexuality is some sort of wholly different or unforgivable sexual sin. It's that the historic Christian view of marriage means that without sexual complementarity there is no marriage at all.

More than that, you are right to note that your situation takes place at a moment of concerted cultural revisionism on the question of marriage as conjugal union. A same-sex wedding service right now is not merely personal, but, whether the couple intends this or not, political, with all sorts of corresponding questions.

Your conscience is conflicted right now, but suppose there's in the near future an evangelical or Roman Catholic or Muslim photographer whose conscience would be morally opposed to participating at all in a same-sex marriage ceremony. There's a real question as to whether the civil state will penalize this person's conscientious objection, at least in some parts of the country. And a state that will do that has over-stepped its authority.

I would say that the decisions you'll make, generally, as a wedding photographer will correspond often with the Corinthian dilemma of whether to eat meat that had been offered to idols (1 Cor. 8).

The Apostle Paul says, first of all, that the idols don't represent real gods (1 Cor. 8:4), in the same way that you would argue that a wedding without a bride or a groom isn't really a marriage. If something's put before you, the apostle writes, eat it to the glory of God, no questions asked.

But, the apostle says, if the food is advertised as sacrificed to idols abstain from it for the sake of the consciences of those around you (1 Cor. 8:7-9).  This is the difference between investigating a doughnut shop owner's buying habits before eating there and stopping in for doughnuts when the sign out front flashes: "Eat here and support our owner's cocaine and prostitutes habit."

You need not investigate as a wedding photographer whether the wedding you are photographing is Christ-honoring. But when there is an obvious deviation from the biblical reality, sacrifice the business for conscience, your own and those of the ones in your orbit who would be confused.

That said, don't be mean.

The couple asking you to do this wedding aren't your enemies (Eph. 6:12). They are made in the image of God and are loved by him, and so should be loved by us. As orthodox Christians we don't believe this leads to the happiness they're looking for, but we must stand with kindness as well as with conviction. Tell the couple that you wish them well, but that you have beliefs about marriage that won't allow your conscience to participate in this way. Thank them for asking you but recommend a photographer who can click away with a clear conscience.

Related: You can find more answers to ethical questions and subscribe to the Questions and Ethics podcast on the website of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

 


Comments:

[…] Russell Moore answers an ethical question. […]

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at the Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at the†Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

[…] Czy chrze?cija?ski fotograf powinien pracowa? przy jednop?ciowym ?lubie? Warte przeczytania ze wzgl?du na to, ?e nigdy nie wiadomo, czy nie znajdziemy si? w podobnej sytuacji. Po angielsku. […]

Current | Three Passions

March 12, 2014 at 07:55 PM

[…] Should a Christian Photographer Work at a Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony – Russell Moore (GC) […]

The Saturday Post(s) | A Pilgrim's Friend

March 1, 2014 at 11:47 AM

[…] one post here, make it this one & the articles it links to. “There are a†number†of†thoughtful†responses†to the controversy over whether the state should coerce Christians (and other people of […]

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at the†Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

Maunalani

March 1, 2014 at 01:51 PM

This is an excellent defense of the Christian position on marriage and explanation why we cannot participate in weddings that are ungodly. Do you have a problem if I share this with others? Thanks.

Maunalani

March 1, 2014 at 01:43 PM

And said that those approving (participating) in such sin are the same as those engaged in it. (Romans 1:32) The difference with the cohabiting couple is technically they are correcting their sin by marrying, not reinforcing it. But just to be clear, my church will not marry those who are cohabiting. The advice is that if they are really serious about living a Christian life and having a Christian marriage, they have to live apart for at least 6 months and show repentance before the pastors will consider marrying them.

Maunalani

March 1, 2014 at 01:39 PM

I agree with you that Romans 1:32 is the operative Scripture and have given that citation to a number of "Christians" that claim there is nothing prohibiting Christians from participating in same-sex "marriages."

Samaria

February 28, 2014 at 08:00 PM

Very thankful for your comment, Brad! You articulated what I was thinking exactly.

Why would this gay couple want a man who 1)Did not want to be a part of their ceremony and 2)Was forced by the state to provide for said ceremony, at their wedding?

6-String Salvo, February 28, 2014 | Mike Lee

February 28, 2014 at 05:12 AM

[…] 1. Dr. Moore answers a question: should a Christian photographer work a same-sex wedding ceremony? […]

[…] and Merritt were referring to Moore’s earlier column for The Gospel Coalition, in which he gave advice to a conflicted photographer. Moore had […]

Maunalani

February 27, 2014 at 01:44 AM

The Apostle Paul said that approving of sinful behavior and being engaged in it are basically the same thing. Romans 1:28-30.

Malaine

February 26, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Being from AZ where this has become a very sad emotional issue, I am surprised that Christain are coming very close to not be allowed to make business decisions effecting their 0wn religious convictions. This is happening at the same time the Attorney General is telling State Attorney Generals that if their conscience bothers them with the same issue they do not have to enforce standing law. Thus making them the arbitrators of the nations laws; yet Christains are not given the same privilege and are told they have to perform whether they like it or not. I believe we all know what has happened to our country over the last few years. It will not help any of us to try to diviate from God's word. Same sex marriage is not something a child of God should be apart of. Romans 1:32 gives very clear guidance to what our position must be no matter the cost.

[…] this particular article (Should a Christian Photographer Work at a Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony? Ė The Gospel Coalition Blog) is one of the more detailed I’ve seen discussion the whole “Should I provide any […]

ELB

February 26, 2014 at 07:52 AM

It seems to me that homosexuality is "the defining sin" because, for one reason, I haven't seen one perpetrator of any of those other sins (gluttony, pride, etc.) coming out in public to define him/herself by that sin; flaunting the sin in every way imaginable and even ways reasonable people could never imagine; or trying to force others to accept the sin or even participate in it (except perhaps by displaying those luscious cakes, pies, and cookies at the bakery!). Who else holds parades in which they prance and dance as close to naked as is legally possible (and sometimes beyond legal!) down public streets, even involved the most perverted sexual displays before whoever dares to gaze on them?? Who else demands not only "tolerance" but also complete acceptance and even embrace of their activities, no matter how our beliefs might cause us to feel? Who else has insidiously and sinuously woven themselves into our children's education...quietly integrating information into classrooms and libraries to convince young minds that homosexuality and lesbianism is worth trying! hmmm...could these reasons (and more) explain why sex...and especially homosexuality...the "defining sin," mwl??? OH, and one more thing...Scripture tells us that sex is a different kind of sin because all other sins are outside our bodies, but sex is done within the body...it is inflicted on the temple of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 6:18..."18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.")

[…] thatís why Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, stated in a†column†this week that a photographer should refuse to film a same-sex wedding but for all other weddings, […]

[…] Russell Moore […]

Mike Hardin

February 26, 2014 at 03:16 PM

I don't think the teaching of scripture is that we are to consider those who are unbelievers as our enemies. Jesus used the term neighbor, as opposed to brother. He certainly did tell us we were to love our enemies, but I think has to do with how others view us, not how we view them. The Bible certainly teaches that those who are without Christ are at enmity with God, as were we. It's a bit of a stretch that we should ever consider them OUR enemies.

Mike Hardin

February 26, 2014 at 03:07 PM

It's not that sex, or specifically homosexuality, is a "defining" sin. The issue is that there is a push by the homosexual community to have homosexuality defined as "not a sin at all." In the case of same sex marriage, the issue is the issue is that the Biblical teaching on marriage is that it is between a man and a woman, and to lends one's services so a ceremony that purports to redefine it is to reject the counsel of God.

Mike Hardin

February 26, 2014 at 03:03 PM

This is the exact issue. It may not be the problem in this particular photographer's situation, but many Christian business people are being targeted intentionally to effect social change by the homosexual community, and it is costing people either their conscience, or their livelihood.

Sara (a different one)

February 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM

I have no idea why my comment didn't make it through moderation. I simply said that I'm a Christian, and I would choose to go. I would also invest myself relationally with my friend or family member. I understand why some folks would not choose this path, but I've experienced tremendous joy and opportunity by doing this with those I know.

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at The Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

Sara (a different one)

February 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I'm a Christian, and I would go. I would also invest relationally in the new couple for the long haul, if they would allow it. This approach makes sense to some of my believing friends and it doesn't make sense to others. I get it.

mwl

February 25, 2014 at 04:10 PM

There have been some truly thoughtful responses . However, why is sex the defining sin - what about gluttony(goodness knows you can see that at the bakery), lechery, pride....even divorce? Do all of these vendors want to turn away all of those who are divorced? Jesus spoke to that. I am honestly and respectfully troubled by the constant focus on one alleged sin over others.

Ray

February 24, 2014 at 12:47 AM

I agree with some of the others that it would be completely wrong to recommend another photographer. Why would a Christian seek to aid homosexuals in profaning God's glorious gift of marriage in any way? I appreciate and respect Dr. Moore, but on that point he is just plain wrong. To be honest, I was surprised that he would make such a comment.

Sara

February 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM

"They are intend on oppressing Christians and we need to understand that."

John, respectfully, based on your earlier comment: "Their behavior is contrary to natural law and deserves discrimination, just as society regularly discriminates against other criminals against natural law," I could infer that you feel the same way (intent on oppressing) toward the gay community.

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at The Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

Daniel H

February 24, 2014 at 04:27 AM

Good questions, Phill. The question of printing invitations has already been considered at law: http://www.queensu.ca/humanrights/educationalressources/ebulletin/religiousdiscrimination/brockie.html.
Brockie's precise position was a bit different, but the case of printing promotion of homosexuality came up in oral argument.

Daniel H

February 24, 2014 at 04:12 AM

Good questions, Mandy, but there is a difference here, I think, between your cases and Dr Moore's same-sex marriage case. What one is being asked to photograph in your first case is not an event as such, and in so doing one is not promoting any event. Is one promoting a family structure that one might think sinful? Well, I don't think a normal photo of two people side by side would do that, but if the photo were actually for a campaign or if the people were holding up signs saying `God loves this family structure' or something like that, that would be different. Similarly if one thought that they were doing something sinful (suppose one thought it sinful for two people of the same sex to kiss each other, and that was what they were doing, say) then one would have to refuse.
In your second case the doula is helping a woman give birth. This is a perfectly natural process, and has to happen somehow or other. Bringing a new life into the world is a special thing. If a child is sinfully conceived (e.g. by rape) that doesn't mean that the mother should be made to suffer childbirth without any help.

Links I like

February 24, 2014 at 04:00 AM

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at The Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

Aidan

February 24, 2014 at 02:55 PM

Yes! I feel like you, by all means, have the best answer to this question. I feel like it's the most basic, human approach to such a difficult task. They know where you stand and that way it's THEM making the decision to hire you or not, knowing your own personal convictions. I think this is the best idea.

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at the†Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]

Chris

February 23, 2014 at 12:03 AM

I think of Jesus eating with tax collectors. Eating was a very intimate act in Israel. He was associating with people who had a completely different way of life. As Jesus lived among those who were making poor decisions, He had a tremendous impact on their lives.

Christopher

February 23, 2014 at 10:34 PM

While I appreciate the sensitive nature of this subject, the response posted by Mr. Moore is unbiblical. Our calling is not to segregate from the world, especially in vocation. 1 Corinthians 5.9-13 illuminates that we are not to put moral hurdles (even God's moral hurdles) in the way of unbelievers before we communicate the Gospel of Christ with them or before we have fellowship with them. The discussion on meat sacrificed to idols is not about "not supporting idolatry". It's about those who wish to remain clean from "unclean foods".

Riley

February 23, 2014 at 07:36 PM

Interesting that we now assume any unbeliever will "not have a problem" with gay marriage, whereas just 10 years ago almost everyone did.

[…] to do something that is “wrong.” But I encourage readers to read Moore in his own words. It will be plain to even the casual reader that Moore said no such thing. (Moore has just posted a […]

[…] thatís why Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, stated in a column†this week that a photographer should refuse to film a same-sex wedding but for all other weddings, […]

Sarah

February 23, 2014 at 06:16 PM

If you recommended a unbelieving photographer who did not have the conscience issues you might have about it, I don't think it's a problem. I don't think the "sin" is the taking the pictures, but of homosexuality. As a believer, it would be difficult to try to capture the love and celebration in the ceremony when one knows what the couple is doing goes against God's intent for marriage. An unbeliever would not have this issue.

yankeegospelgirl

February 23, 2014 at 05:41 PM

Pretty good, except for the part about recommending another photographer. I wouldn't want to in any way further the process of their so-called "wedding." I would say no and let that be that.

Daniel H.

February 23, 2014 at 04:21 PM

`Thank them for asking you but recommend a photographer who can click away with a clear conscience.'
If one thinks something is a sin how can one recommend someone else to sin in one's stead?

kim

February 23, 2014 at 03:49 PM

Thank God that in a generation or two very few Christians, if any, will have these dilemma.....

Why?

[…] like journalist Merritt and Christian ethicist Dr. Moore. Merritt claims that Christians like Dr. Moore are inconsistent when they instruct Christians to photograph unbiblical heterosexual marriages, but […]

Riley

February 22, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Dr. Moore,

I generally agree with your response. There's another factor that I have been considering. If, in fact, it becomes illegal (through legislation or court ruling) in places for wedding photographers, cake-makers, etc. to refuse service in conjunction with a gay wedding, could that have the effect of maintaining their Christian witness? What I mean is that in a sense, coercion on pain of losing ones livelihood would tend to remove any thought observers might have that providing these services constitutes a condoning of the event on the part of the service provider.

[…] Russell Moore: Should a Christian Photographer Work at a Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony?† […]

Hal

February 22, 2014 at 05:10 PM

The heart of God is spelled out on this issue in Romans 1:24-27.

Phill

February 22, 2014 at 02:06 PM

Question- should a Christian work as a waiter at a same-sex marriage reception? Or print invitations to a same-sex engagement?

At what stage do we engage in the world (like in Babylon with the exiles) and at what stage do we remove ourselves?

I think you should follow your conscience, but I'm not sure if it should stop then with gay marriage. What about shotgun weddings, or couples who thoughtlessly walk down the aisle?

I guess I have questions about whether we cut off economic ties from people.

John Carpenter

February 22, 2014 at 01:49 PM

Thanks for taking that stand!

John Carpenter

February 22, 2014 at 01:47 PM

But homosexuals will intentionally invite Christians to photograph, bake, etc., for them in order to compel them to violate their conscience and God's law. They are intend on oppressing Christians and we need to understand that.

The Saturday Post(s) | A Pilgrim's Friend

February 22, 2014 at 01:46 PM

[…] Should a Christian Photographer Work at a Same Sex Ceremony?†Dr. Russell Moore answers with his usual faithfulness, clarity, and grace. […]

John Carpenter

February 22, 2014 at 01:46 PM

Actually, as Dave described, he's not taking pictures of the event. It's not the people but the event he is refusing to participate in.

But as for homosexuals, they are people who have chosen to participate in unnatural sexual activity. Their behavior is contrary to natural law and deserves discrimination, just as society regularly discriminates against other criminals against natural law.

Gaston

February 22, 2014 at 01:19 PM

Wow! Wow! I so am interested in this question, and the responses which are all over the place. I do a good bit of catering and decorating for weddings, I don't know how I would respond... mostly folks know that I am a believer, yet folks also know that I am a redeemed soul that was born horribly broken and in need of a redeemer. HE FOUND ME! I think I would have to really know the heart of God in whose image I am made for the answer to this question. I think that we as believers might get a little hyper about the issue of homosexuality, yet if the couple where a heterosexual couple that had been cohabiting, we would have probably no problem giving them services..... a double standard.. sin is sin. Each one of us must bring our sins to HIM in repentance. And would it be true of us that we would not judge less we be judged.

Nate

February 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM

As a wedding videographer, my job is to capture the event in the most beautiful way I can. These weddings celebrate and honor a particular sin. There is nothing beautiful about it. That is what makes filming them different from filming other events. It isn't about the people, it's about what is being celebrated and honored: something God has forbidden. That is why I can't film them in good conscience.

I filmed a heterosexual wedding for a couple that probably had no business getting married. Once I got to see them together in person, I felt sad for them. They were immature, disrespectful to each other and their friends, abusive with alcohol, and the whole wedding seemed like a mockery of what God intended. I spent the next month editing the footage with a knot in my stomach. I was trying to make debauchery look beautiful.

For both of the above reasons, I no longer film weddings. To those in the industry questioning how to handle it: pray with humility and be willing to give it up if necessary. There is plenty of beauty in the world that you can use your gifts to uncover and put on display for others. Glorify God with your gifts.

Brad

February 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Outstanding navigation of a very difficult subject. I'm a photographer myself (though I don't do weddings), and have wrestled with this. I agree with everything here, but would add too that one way of explaining or articulating a potentially offensive refusal is to also explain this: photographers are artists, who subjectively interpret events/relationships/everything through a unique lens (pun-intended). If that lens has convictions that strongly contrast the couple's, then it doesn't serve them to hire you as their photographer because you will be UNABLE (not just unWILLing) to represent their day as they would be hiring you to do. It is a conflict of conscience, but also a limit to quality of your service.

Dave Joyce

February 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

It's not really discrimination at all. Discrimination would be refusing to provide any services at all to the person. But that's not the case. They're merely refusing to photograph a homosexual wedding. It has nothing to do with the couple themselves.

Is it discrimination to refuse to take nude photographs of somebody? Of course not.

John F

February 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

There's also the dilemma of, if you choose to perform the service (i.e. photograph the wedding) for any reason (e.g. law, context, etc.) then activists will accuse you of being willing to take money from homosexuals while you won't honor their beliefs. On the other hand, if you don't the perform service, then the same activists could claim you won't even do it if they pay you fair and square.

Personally, I can't decide. No-one should be forced to provide a service unwillingly, but people should generally abide by the law. I would note that abiding by the law means suffering the consequences of the law if deciding to go against it (e.g. Paul & Silas did not escape prison even though they had the opportunity).

GMC3MOM

February 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM

In Colorado, a bakery refused to make the wedding cake for a gay wedding. The courts ordered the bakery to cater the wedding.

As a Christian business owner, I do believe that I have the right for refusal. However, legally, this is going to be considered a case of discrimination. You are going to get the same response, public outcry and legal accountability as you would if you denied service to African Americans.

I believe we can turn down the business, but be prepared that if you tell them WHY ... there could be serious legal and social backlash.

In these cases, I usually respond with "I am not taking on clients that day"... and I will not book anything else for that day.

Mandy Kifer

February 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM

What about a Christian photographer asked to take family or child photos for a homosexual couple, or perhaps a doula hired to assist with a lesbian couple's birth?

DC

February 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I'm a Christian photographer and I'm staring at a potential situation like this, as in, I have served people in the past that "know people" who are homosexuals and recently got engaged and they promised to give them my information. I also live in Chicago, a very politically and morally liberal area, where, if I refuse services on the basis of sexual orientation, I will more than likely be taken to court. What then, before a court, would be my case? What would convince the judge and the jury that my decision was legitimate and unworthy of conviction? The strongest point in this article is the fact that we are presented with a battle of advertisement - that one of the biggest problems with a Christian photographing a homosexual union is that in our political arena, the social promotion of our actions is of much greater concern than actually distinguishing between "which sins are worth overlooking and which are not." In court, nobody is going to bat an eye at the argument that states I chose not to because of what it would promote in the modern political scene.

Colin

February 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM

It's so tragic this question even arises. I feel for the photographer. But no matter how nice you try to say it, it is very likely this gay couple will be pushed further from the Gospel by this position. Thank God that in a generation or two very few Christians, if any, will have these dilemmas.

David

February 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

This question is so relevant and one that my wife and I have had to work out, especially as she becomes more prominent in the wedding industry in our city. It is a question with many facets and a difficult one. Thank you for your thoughtful interaction with the situation at hand Dr. Moore.

Richard Parker

February 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

This issue is getting even more complicated. Here in the State of Oregon a bakery was sued by a same-sex couple for refusing to bake their wedding cake. The court agreed with the couple that the refusal was a violation of their right to fair treatment under the law. Pastors and churches may refuse to perform ceremonies due to their religious rights, but secular businesses must be careful -- they cannot claim a right to religious refusal of service.

Justin M. Davito

February 21, 2014 at 10:23 PM

Wow! Getting more complicated.

Good thoughts @Sara.

-Justin

Hal

February 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM

There's also the matter of making money off of an event that is an abomination to God. Of course, that applies to much more than same-sex weddings, but ... just saying.

Matt

February 21, 2014 at 08:52 PM

P.S. Later in the year, I sold the business and moved away from Maryland, so don't contact my former business if you want to reach me. (The move was occasioned by family dynamics--an aging mother--and finances--taking advantage of an unusual real estate market--not the gay marriage issue. The Lord choreographed the timing and all things worked together for good.)

Matt

February 21, 2014 at 08:45 PM

I ran a trolley bus transportation service for weddings until Maryland passed a gay marriage law that went to referendum in November 2012 and became effective January 2013. I shut down the wedding side of the business in December 2012 when the referendum passed, and the public reaction was swift and strong and national (even international). Google my name and "gay marriage." I decided the big thing lacking from the discussion was an awareness of the future judgment of God on sin, so I supplied which was lacking here: http://www.discover-annapolis.com/DOWNLOADS/Weddings%20explained.pdf

Walt

February 21, 2014 at 07:43 PM

I agree with Mr. Moore on every part except the part about them being our enemy. As a Christian anyone who is not Christian is our enemy. Yet we are to LOVE our enemies, just as Christ loves us, when we were His enemy living in our sins. God gave us a conscience which means with knowledge. Our conscience is our spirit man, when we are born again we now have the frequency to receive and hear the signals the Holy Spirit gives us. If it troubles your conscience then go with your conscience, remember though our conscience cannot be troubled in both directions.

[…] Should a Christian Photographer Work at a Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony? (The Gospel Coalition) […]

Mark P.

February 21, 2014 at 07:15 PM

In regards to the brother/believer photographer who is wondering about working at a "gay marriage" ceremony: I have had the privilege to sing solos at numerous Weddings. I remember, (you probably have also )the great, wonderful, "straight" marriage ceremonies, where the pastor makes a statement towards the end of the ceremony about everyone there being a witness and encouraging people to support, affirm and celebrate this new couple's union as they embark on a journey together blessed by God. Then I would ask you to please open your Bible and read Romans 1:25-28. As Biblical Christians,can we support, affirm and celebrate gay unions? I think you know the answer.(Romans 1:32) I personally believe in toleration of gays, because the grace of God is to be extended to all unbelievers. My biblical, christian beliefs keep me from supporting, affirming and celebrating their lifestyle. Why are most
gays not content with "civil unions" but want it to be called a marriage? It seems there is a STRONG ASSERTIVE EFFORT to get people to support, affirm and celebrate the gay lifestyle and marginalize/ridicule/persecute anyone who challenges their views by declaring it "hate speech" spoken by bigots. According to the Bible, The Gay lifestyle is a choice/behavior. It should not be presented to our youth as something to be admired and considered, but as something to flee from. May God grant you the wisdom to understand and live out God's truth with courage, grace and love.

[…] UPDATE: The Gospel Coalition has produced an article that Dr. Moore responds to a letter from a photographer asking how to respond.† While some of the areas are questionable in Dr. Moore’s response it is refreshing to see him speak in a positive way on the issue.† You can see his response here and notice the Scripture he uses in his response. […]

Sara

February 21, 2014 at 04:34 PM

Ack, right after the "pay to" I had a list of potential charities, all of which were very Christian and very pro-heterosexual marriage. For some reason that was edited out.

Sara

February 21, 2014 at 04:32 PM

While I agree with the article in theory, the way it actually plays out can be quite different. Several people have mentioned a bakery in Oregon that was court-ordered to provide a cake for a homosexual couple. There is also a florist in Eastern Washington that is facing a lawsuit from the State and a lawsuit from the ACLU for refusing to do flowers for a homosexual wedding. I would like to article to consider the legal ramifications of refusing services.

I had my own idea of what I might do. Knowing that I could face lawsuits and/or my business being shutdown, I thought I might kindly say something like this to the prospective couple, "Providing my services for your wedding would go against my conscience, however I cannot by law flat-out refuse you. But knowing that my heart would not be in it, I would imagine you would prefer to find someone else that could wholeheartedly support you in your event and I would be glad to give you my recommendations. I also want you to know that if you still choose to use my services, then I will be donating 100% of the money you pay to ." I imagine that would do the job to get them to go elsewhere without putting oneself in legal peril.

Luke

February 21, 2014 at 04:14 PM

Dave: Your argument regarding nude photography is lacking because it asserts a refusal to take nude photos of ALL people. The example at hand is refusing to take "wedding" photos of a certain group of people base purely on their sexual orientation. That would be a discriminatory practice.

Hal

February 21, 2014 at 04:01 PM

I'm a Christian, and I would not go.

Simon

February 21, 2014 at 02:58 AM

A well considered response that takes into account the complicated and distinguishing characteristics of such a request. Well done, Mr Moore.

Jeremy

February 21, 2014 at 02:46 PM

Just curious, assuming there were no legal ramifications, would you then rent your house to someone you knew was going to sell drugs to kids?

(I'm not trying to equate homosexual marriage to selling drugs)

Emily

February 21, 2014 at 02:31 PM

What position should a Christian have on attending a homosexual wedding of a friend or family member?

Melody

February 21, 2014 at 01:50 PM

ericdtp

I have no doubt that people have been turned down for the reasons that you mention. There are small communities all across the country where everyone knows each other by name. There are probably people that get turned down because of alcohol or dancing.

If they sued the courts would throw it out. It would be considered a religious matter that they would have no interest in. Homosexuals are considered protected. How long will it be before someone can sue for membership in a church based on those grounds? Already campuses are pushing the limits on faith groups by trying to force memberships.

Oscar Varghese

February 21, 2014 at 01:47 PM

I've had this question posed to be and I honestly didn't know how to answer. I think I'm in a better position now.

Thanks Dr.Moore

Melody

February 21, 2014 at 01:32 PM

Not in a million years would I want someone that doesn't like me to do any of the things listed on my most special day. It seems like a no-brainer to not hire someone that has an attitude. Which leads me to believe that the event is not all that special or it would occur to them in the same way that it does to the rest of us when we are picking someone for a special event.
Would you want to eat a cake wondering?

And say someone does produce a lousy product for whatever misfortunate reason: camera breaks, flowers come in frost bitten during shipment, van hits a bump and cake slides over. Are they in danger of being sued and accused of discrimination too?

ericdtp

February 21, 2014 at 01:21 PM

Nate,

I saw your post after I posted mine. Your example is similar to the one I put forth. I admire your decision and acknowledge that is one righteous way to handle this difficult situation. Good luck in your other video endeavors. We need more character like yours in the world.

ericdtp

February 21, 2014 at 01:16 PM

I am not in these situations, but I have struggled with what the correct response would be for some time now. Previously, I would be in complete agreement with Russell's answer. However, lately I am not sure if there is not a better approach.

First, a tangential question: why are we only talking about homosexual marriages in this scenario? What about the scenario where a heterosexual couple of two recently divorced people want to get married and their previous divorces were not based on Biblical guidelines (for example, they just fell out of love with their previous spouses)? Should that matter? Is the service provider condoning something they shouldn't by participating in that service? Should Christian service providers perform pre-wedding research on the clients to make sure they are within Biblical mandates? Does it matter that the clients are professed beleivers or not? I am not saying what is right, I am just asking. But if you are going to draw the line on homosexual marriage because it is not God's plan for marriage, then I would think that would apply to all marriages that did not fall within His plan. Just something I have been thinking about lately.

So, as I have pondered this in studying my Bible, I came across 2 Timothy 2:22-26 and I recommend anyone who is suffering from this to know it. I am drawn to the phrase "patiently enduring evil" and then the point Paul makes that this could be the way God chooses to call sinners to repentance. Again, I do not know what the answer is. I just wonder if sometimes this homosexual marriage thing may just be another scheme by the devil to get us off of God's true plan.

[…] Read†more at The Gospel Coalition […]

T Howard

February 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM

Rendering / receiving services to / from an individual does not equal endorsement of that individual.

Renting a house to an unmarried couple doesn't equal an endorsement of their fornication. You're providing contracted goods and services, not acceptance, celebration, or endorsement.

[…] issue is a response I made, reposted this week over at the Gospel Coalition, helping a Christian wedding photographer think through whether he ought to work for a same-sex […]