Do Pastors Have to Perform Same-Sex Marriages? Supreme Court Says No.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ushered in the legal right to same-sex marriage in 2015, this naturally led many pastors to ask whether they would in turn be required to perform same-sex marriages.

The Court appears to have now answered that question with a “no” this month in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. While not central to the Court’s holding in the Masterpiece decision, the Court did reference the right of pastors to decline to perform same-sex marriages in its analysis of the case.  

In its June 4 decision, the court stated, “When it comes to weddings, it can be assumed that a member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds could not be compelled to perform the ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion. This refusal would be well understood in our constitutional order as an exercise of religion, an exercise that gay persons could recognize and accept without serious diminishment to their own dignity and worth.”


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.


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