Am. Samoa Governor: Same-Sex Marriage Against Values, Law

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Churches back up Lolo who believes US Court ruling does not apply

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, July 13, 2015) – Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga believes that the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage ruling does not apply to American Samoa. "My personal opinion is, this ruling will not apply to our preamble, our constitution and our Christian values. Also, our political status is still unorganized and unincorporated, so the Supreme Court ruling does not apply to our territory," he told Samoa News. He made it clear that Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale is looking into this and will later issue a legal opinion regarding same sex marriage.

Last week the AG told Samoa News that there is a possibility that this ruling may apply to American Samoa, however he’s looking into it. In the meantime, Samoa News reached out to leaders of various church denominations for comments on the same sex marriage ruling. These were the responses we received.

ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH

American Samoa Assemblies of God’s Superintendent Reverend Elder, Poe Mageo told Samoa News yesterday that the same sex issue is nothing new, he said it started back in old generations of the Bible, which tells of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. "This serves as a powerful example of how God feels about sin in general, and homosexuality specifically, the sin he dislikes the most," said Mageo.

He said the biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah is recorded in Genesis where the Lord and two angels came to speak with Abraham. He said when God created earth he created Adam and then created Eve for Adam — and that is the perfect explanation, that woman was created for man; there is nothing where it says man was created for man, he explained.

He further stated that AOG will not accept a marriage between two people of the same sex. He made it clear that he believes homosexuality is the sin that God despises the most.

CATHOLIC CHURCH

"The Catholic Church upholds the nature of the human person and marriage as expressed in the union of a man and women and teaches that it is not possible that the marriage of two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage," says Bishop Peter Brown. He said as the Catholic Bishop of American Samoa it is important to recognize that, while the Catholic Church is clear on its teaching in regard to marriage — that Jesus Christ taught marriage is the lifelong union between a man and a woman — the Church is also very much aware of its responsibility to care for all, regardless of their sexual orientation. "Pope Francis himself has stated that no one has the right to judge, but all God’s creation are worthy of love and respect."

"The Catholic Church upholds the nature of the human person and marriage as expressed in the union of a man and women and teaches that it is not possible that the marriage of two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage," he stated, adding that the discussion is often confused with the question of equal rights.

"Not denying this approach, the Church teaches rather from a basis of the ‘nature’ of the human person and marriage as distinctly separate from the issue of rights. We pray that our society, especially in American Samoa may continue to seek justice for all in light of God’s promise that all are made in His likeness and deserve His love. As people, let us dialogue together with the goal of increasing our understanding of God's will for us all."

CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS

The Court's decision does not alter the Lord's doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice," according to Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

In their official statement issued on mormonnewsroom.org last month, they say that because of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and similar legal proceedings and legislative action in a number of countries that have given civil recognition to same-sex marriage relationships, the LDS leaders restate and reaffirm the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family.

"As we do, we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.

Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society, they affirm.

The LDS church says that a family is built on the marriage of a man and a woman, and that is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage between a man and a woman, and the family that results from their union, as privileged institutions. Sexual relations outside of such a marriage are contrary to the laws of God pertaining to morality.

"Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

The statement further says that consistent with their fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, "all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there."

It also notes that "the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility — even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same-sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."

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