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Pastors to rally for traditional marriage

A clergy coalition formed in January that has spoken out against abortion and perceived threats to religious freedom will rally in defense of the traditional definition of marriage on July 1.

Members of Shepherds United plan to gather at noon on the Allen County Courthouse lawn in reaction to expected U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage expected by the end of June.

Founding member, the Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer of Fort Wayne, says the high court is deciding challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a California constitutional amendment. Both define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

“We have no inside knowledge as to the date or how the court will rule. … This is like reading tea leaves with the Supreme Court,” said Scaer, a professor of New Testament at Fort Wayne’s Concordia Theological Seminary, affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Either way, the ruling has implications for Indiana, he said, because the state put off a ballot measure to constitutionally define marriage as between a man and a woman pending the court’s rulings, he said.

“Regardless of the court’s decision, we as shepherds in the city of Churches are conscience-bound to proclaim marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Scaer said.

“We believe the July 1 marriage rally will give us an opportunity to let the community know that we will continue to teach marriage in truth and love according to the word of our Lord.”

Shepherds United claims as members 140 leaders of Fort Wayne-area Roman Catholic, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Missionary, evangelical Protestant, Baptist, Wesleyan, Anglican and other churches.

Among the signers of the coalition’s founding position statement are the Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend; the Rev. Daniel C. May, president of the Missouri Synod’s Indiana district; the Rev. Dr. Bill Hossler, president of the Missionary Church Inc.; the Rev. Rick Hawks, pastor of The Chapel; and Ron Hawkins, lead pastor of First Assembly of God.