As a wedding officiant, you may be asked to perform a ceremony of which you disapprove. You are encouraged to follow your gut instincts; you certainly have every right to refuse your services for any reason. We commonly see this exorcized by ministers with conservative values who take issues with some unions for fear of what affect it might have on the American Family, but a new study suggests that conservative religious values themselves play a strong role in the higher divorce rates of red states when compared to their blue counterparts. This suggests we may want to take a second look at what kinds of weddings we pass on performing.
In "Red States, Blue States, and Divorce: Understanding the Impact of Conservative Protestantism on Regional Variation in Divorce Rates", the American Journal of Sociology has asserted that conservative values can foster an atmosphere that leads to the breakdown of families. Red states tend to view marriage as primary goal in life and encourage getting married at a fairly young age, whereas blue states are likely to encourage youngsters to first get an education and start a career. The younger a couple marries, the more likely it is that the marriage will end in divorce.
Sex education in schools also varies between the left and the right. Liberals want teenagers to be prepared for certain situations and would rather have schools teach about safe sex and birth control. Conservatives, however, often believe that sex is an activity and topic reserved for married couples, and thus abstinence-only education is stressed. Young adults that are pressured into abstinence will sometimes marry young to reconcile their sexual desires with societal norms, and are less likely to have the knowledge needed to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. These kids are less likely to terminate it if pregnancy does occur. Since having a child out of wedlock is taboo in these areas, this can lead to teens getting married for the wrong reasons.
The Universal Life Church champions individual religious beliefs, whether conservative, liberal, or somewhere in the middle. We again stress that it is fine to refuse to perform a wedding for any reason, but we should take a realistic view of what threatens the American Family.