At least two Christian colleges are extending benefits to same-sex spouses of employees after last month’s Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
Hope College in Holland, Michigan, made that decision public this week.
“In employment policy and practice, Hope College has always followed the state’s legal definition of marriage,” Hope College president John Knapp wrote in a statement to the college community. “Spouses are eligible for benefits, so long as their marriage is legally recognized by the State of Michigan.”
However, Hope’s chapel will only be available to weddings that “are consistent with [the Reformed Church in America’s] definition of marriage as ‘a joyful covenanting between a man and a woman,’” Knapp wrote. “This respects our enduring affiliation with the RCA, a relationship that is also reflected in the Board of Trustees’ Position Statement on Human Sexuality.”
The school’s 2011 position statement calls for “a life of chastity among the unmarried and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.” Hope will not “recognize or support” campus groups seeking to promote homosexuality, but aims to be a safe place for the discussion and teaching of human sexuality issues, according to the 2011 statement.
Knapp's letter to the campus acknowledged that the move to provide benefits to same-sex married couples could be controversial.
“Here at Hope College we are a family of Christians who hold diverse and often conflicting points of view,” Knapp wrote. “We understand that the new legal definition of marriage is an intensely heartfelt ...1