In August 2003, the Coptic Orthodox Church, through the leadership of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and the Holy Synod, issued a formal declaration against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In part, the declaration stated, Same-sex marriage is against the Divine Plan for marriage and its purpose of procreation. “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Mark 10:6, 7. See also Ephesians 5:31; Genesis 1:27 and 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).
Three years earlier, the people of the State of California overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22 with 61.4% of the vote. This proposition amended a state law to define marriage as between a man and woman only. Unfortunately, this law has been attacked and eroded by same-sex marriage advocates and even politicians without the support of the people. Without action, same-sex marriage may soon be legalized in California.
As this is an issue which affects many Coptic Orthodox believers and parents attempting to raise their children in a society that preserves the Christian definition of marriage, churches in the Diocese will make available a petition to ultimately preserve the traditional definition of marriage by amending the California State Constitution. A total of 694,354 valid signatures is required by April 1, 2008. If the petition is successful, the amendment will be placed on the November 2008 ballot for all California voters to decide.
We are encouraging our youth leaders to visit http://www.protectmarriage.com to find the nearest distribution center from which they may pick up these petitions and make the petitions available to the church’s whole congregation in the next couple of weeks. Only registered California voters over the age of 18 may sign these petitions.
It is my hope that every believer will take this matter seriously and act on the petition so that we may preserve the Christian definition of marriage in our society.