Webinar: Gay Marriage in the Body of Christ

A conversation with two same-sex married couples who love Jesus

In June 2015, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal across the United States. For many in the more “traditional” branch of the church, this was a devastating blow, seen as a loss in the culture wars and a danger to the moral fabric of society. For others, it was a long-awaited and liberating legitimization of their own same-sex commitments and those of their loved ones.

Pastors, ministry leaders and Christian educators can easily feel confused about the cultural shifts that are taking place around gay marriage, both outside and within the church. They need a safe place to ask questions of gay couples who have pursued marriage.

Regardless of your theological position—or confusion—on these matters, we want to offer you the chance to meet gay Christian couples in order to deepen your insights into people in same-sex marriages, some of whom you may be serving in your church, ministry or classroom but may not have had the chance (or comfort level) to engage face to face.

  • Why was marriage equality important to so many gay couples? What was it like for gay couples to see the church advocate so strongly against gay marriage?
  • How is a same-sex marriage different from a heterosexual marriage?
  • What specific challenges do same-sex couples face in the church?
  • In what ways can someone with a traditional stance on marriage show love to a gay married couple?

The 90-minute webinar was recorded on February 22, 2020, featuring four Jesus followers (two couples) who generously agreed to share their individual stories, respond to questions, and engage in conversation with each other and attendees. Meet our panelists below, then click on the video to watch.

 
T&E

Patti & Sue

Patti grew up going to church, but it wasn’t an integral part of her family’s life, and it wasn’t until high school that she came to understand who Jesus was and embraced him as her Savior. A lover of nature from a young age, Patti pursued a degree in landscape design and has worked in the field of horticulture for her entire career.  

Sue grew up going to a fundamentalist Baptist church—if the church doors were open, Sue and her family were in attendance.  Hoping to go into full-time Christian ministry, Sue attended Bible College and graduated with a degree in Theology and Christian Education. But while in college, Sue became convinced that her persistent attraction to women meant that Christian ministry would not be an option for her, at least not the conservative faith communities she felt most at home in.  She turned to real estate, and, 35 years later, Sue is the general sales manager for one of the nation’s largest title insurance companies.  Sue has also authored a book about her struggle to find peace as a gay woman in a conservative Christian community.

Sue and Patti met in the early ‘90s at a women’s Bible study.  At the time Patti was just beginning her struggle with her sexual identity, while Sue was already in a long-term relationship with another woman.  Sue’s relationship ended abruptly and, as a friend, Patti did her best to help Sue pick up the pieces of her life.  As the months went on, Patti struggled between her beliefs that same-sex attraction was wrong and her increasing feelings toward Sue.  Eventually, Patti came to a place of acceptance of herself as a gay Christian and their relationship began in August of 1994.  Sue and Patti married on August 6, 2014, the 20th anniversary of their entering into a private covenant to commit to each other for life.

Since God was at the center of both of their lives, attending church was very important to them.  Finding acceptance from a church community was often the biggest struggle they faced.  In their attempt to find a place to worship over the last 25 years, their experience with churches has run the gamut from rejection to partial (conditional) acceptance to, most recently, full inclusion in a small Mennonite church with Patti on the leadership team and Sue often being asked to teach or preach.  

When not working, Sue and Patti enjoy home projects, gardening, and cooking at their home outside of Philadelphia, PA, as well as adventures on their CanAm Spyder, and travel to countries that have not yet been overrun by tourism.  In all, they seek God’s beauty in His great world.

Eufemio & Tom

Eufemio and Tom met for the first time on September 11th, 2012, after connecting on a dating website a month earlier. They quickly realized how much they had in common, including growing up in families of faith where their sexuality was often at odds with the theologies they were taught. Eufemio attended Assembly of God churches growing up, while Tom was raised in the Catholic church. They discussed growing up both gay and Christian and the journeys that brought them to the table that day.

On September 24th, 2016 Eufemio and Tom were married and began their journey as a family, committed both to each another and to being examples of God’s love to all. They recently became licensed to be foster parents in New Jersey and are awaiting the placement of their first child.

Eufemio graduated from Christian college with a degree in Christian Education and worked for a Christian high school for 4 years before becoming a data specialist for a cyber school in Pennsylvania. Since his first mission trip abroad as a 12 year old, he has had a strong passion for traveling and experiencing other people, cultures, and places.

Tom has been a high school math teacher for the past 20 years. At his school he also has been a class advisor, serves as the Gender Sexuality Alliance club advisor and the math coordinator, and trains new staff. Tom loves game shows, Baltimore sports teams, and spending time in nature.

Together Tom and Eufemio are active members at First Baptist Church in Moorestown, NJ, where Eufemio is co-treasurer and Tom serves on the leadership team. When not working they enjoy traveling the world on a dime: they’ve recently visited Cuba, Dubai, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe and are planning a trip to Africa this summer. It is their desire that their relationship, whether in everyday life or through sharing their story, brings life to those around them and reflects God’s love. 

You may also want to read

When Grace Dances

By Tim Otto

I’m surprised you are reading this. When a discussion of homosexuality comes up, I find that most Christians are exhausted by it. Are there any words left that might accomplish anything? Words that would resolve it, reconcile us, and put the matter to rest?