Pastor Pushes to Overturn Law Punishing Pastors for Officiating Gay or Polygamous Weddings

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Friday, January 16, 2015

Pastor Pushes to Overturn Law Punishing Pastors for Officiating Gay or Polygamous Weddings

A Detroit minister has filed a lawsuit against Michigan’s governor and attorney general, arguing that a state law that punishes clergymen for same-sex wedding ceremonies is a violation of his religious freedom.

Rev. Neil Patrick Carrick, a former pastor at United Church of Christ, filed the lawsuit this week. The state law says that clergymen can be fined if found guilty of performing same-sex wedding ceremonies in their religious institutions.

Carrick said he has had to turn down several wedding ceremony requests from same-sex couples.

"The major point here is that Michigan state law prohibits a pastor or clergyman, or a person who is a clergy for a house of worship, to perform wedding ceremonies without the permission of the state," Carrick said.

"People want to claim that I am just trying to do something for gays or something like that," Carrick added. "That is not what this is about. This is about religious freedom for everybody. People should be able to worship as they choose."

The Christian Post reports the lawsuit does not ask the state to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but to allow people to be able to get married in the eyes of God if not the state.

"It kind of boils down to this: a pastor of a church should not be an agent of the state in which they live," Carrick asserted. "They should not be working as agents of the state when they are responsible for taking care of their houses of worship and the covenants between individuals and God. I never got into the ministry to be an agent for the State of Michigan. I have a long-held belief that marriage is a covenant between individuals and their God, not between man and woman and the State of Michigan." 

Publication date: January 16, 2015