Everything changed for Amanda Price when she married her boyfriend.
“The way we saw each other changed,” she said. “I dare say the way others saw us changed.”Price, a member of the gender-rights organization Embrace Lancaster, believes members of the gay, lesbian and bisexual community should be able to share that experience.On Sunday, she moderated a panel on same-sex marriage at First United Methodist Church in Lancaster.The question, she said, is “Why marriage?” – as opposed to domestic partnerships and civil unions, “the kind of watered-down relationships that are offered to same-sex couples” in some states.”Why marriage? Why not marriage?” replied the Rev. Alicia Conklin- Wood, a retired Presbyterian minister.”There’s something about the religious ceremony,” she explained. “It’s an act of worship. Sometimes people forget that. It’s done with the blessing of God, and with the witness of friends and family.”For me, it’s a deeper kind of commitment, and I would offer that for others who seek that kind of special blessing.”Still, Sunday’s panelists said they realized their beliefs are contrary to those of many residents of Lancaster County.Conklin-Wood shared the stage with the Rev. Bill Cherry, a retired United Methodist minister; the Rev. Megan Malick, a pastor at Trinity Reformed UCC in Mountville; and Scott Rhoades, president of the Lancaster Freethought Society.They met in front of a small crowd of about three dozen, which one audience member described as “the choir” – no one was there to have their mind changed.But that didn’t stop them from having a lively conversation.”Marriage is rooted in the context of faith, rooted finally in God himself,” said Cherry. “Gender is beside the point. I can endorse a gay marriage because it celebrates love, not the gender of the persons involved.”As a humanist who defines morality outside the bounds of religion, Rhoades said he has no problem with same-sex marriages.”Couples are couples,” he said. “People who love each other love each other, and there’s no reason they should be apart.”Panelists agreed the Bible offers mixed messages about marriage.”Marriage has changed significantly since then, many times,” Rhoades insisted. “When people say ‘traditional marriage,’ I don’t think they understand what they’re talking about. What I see as traditional marriage in the Bible and other historical texts is not the sort of marriage that they’re talking about.”In some cases, Cherry said, women are describeo.d as property whA discussion on same-sex marriage in PennyslvaniaA discussion on same-sex marriage in PennyslvaniaA discussion on same-sex marriage in PennyslvaniaA discussion on same-sex marriage in PennyslvaniaA discussion on same-sex marriage in PennyslvaniaA discussion on same-sex marriage in PennyslvaniaA discussion on same-sex marriage in Pennyslvania