Religion Professor Mark Wallace Helps Officiate at Gay Marriage Ceremony

Professor of Religion and Presbyterian minister Mark Wallace joined more than 50 clergy from a variety of religious denominations in co-officiating a same-sex marriage ceremony in Philadelphia last weekend.

"I'd been looking for a way to support the LGBT religious community, specifically regarding clergy who are out and around marriage equality," Wallace says. "We're trying to build a movement and this is one way to do it, with a public event."

The event was covered in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which said that "for the Methodist ministers in the group, a large majority of the 50, participating in the ceremony could result in the loss of their credentials. They did so in an unprecedented protest of church doctrine and a showing of solidarity for one of their own."

Wallace recently wrote about the issue of same-sex marriage for Tikkun magazine, responding to Rev. Billy Graham's urging that people "vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms." Wallace countered, writing, "Unfortunately for the Rev. Graham and other conservative Christians, however, the Bible says little, if anything, about the politically charged issues he and his ilk champion, and what it does say runs counter to their right-wing assumptions."

Wallace is the author of Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature (Fortress, 2005), Fragments of the Spirit: Nature, Violence, and the Renewal of Creation (Continuum, 1996; Trinity, 2002), and The Second Naïveté: Barth, Ricoeur, and the New Yale Theology (Mercer University Press, 1990, 1995).  He received a 2003-04 Andrew W. Mellon New Directions for Scholars-Teachers Fellowship, which allowed him to initiate community-based learning into his Religion, the Environment, and Contemplative Practice course and forge an ongoing partnership between his classes and several community organizations in Chester, Pa.