Reasons why marriage equality is consistent with Baptist principles

April 2, 2013

A Baptist case for the freedom to marry
In arguing for marriage equality, Baptist pastor Doug Donley reminds viewers of Baptist history. “We Baptists were on the fringes of the religious life in the colonies.” he writes. “We were relegated with other nonconformists to Rhode Island where we could do the least harm.” He stresses that freedom is the “lifeblood” of Baptists. “It’s part of our DNA,” he says, “Denying marriage to any one class of people ought to make Baptists at least a bit uneasy.” He bases his argument on the four freedoms that mean so much to Baptists. Read what these freedoms are and how they apply to the same-sex marriage debates. Donley’s article is posted on the Believe Out Loud website, which, as described on its “about” page, was launched in 2009 “to support conflicted Christians and advance the decades-long movement for LGBT-inclusion within mainline Christianity.”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


  1. I have a question, Vidal.

    Just so everyone is clear, here’s the Bible verse you reference:

    “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

    I’m just guessing you use the KJV,

    So do I understand that you are saying someone who believes in marriage equality has necessarily made a choice to leave the Body of Christ? Because I don’t think that is the case at all. Rev. Donely has not left – his strength remains in Christ.

    I ask this respectfully, in order to better understand what you are trying to say with your short post.


    Marg Herder

  2. I use the ESV—My note was short because I do not like the fact that so many people claim Christ but do not apparently believe the scriptures are true.
    Even the devil himself believes that Christ is the only way. .

  3. So, then you are saying that Rev. Donely (and anyone who believes in marriage equality) doesn’t believe the scriptures are true? That if one believes in marriage equality they necessarily can”t believe Christ is the only way?

    Can I go further and assume you are suggesting someone who interprets scripture differently than you do cannot be considered Christian?


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