Our Constitution might proclaim the equality of all people, but for many Americans, discrimination based on gender, sexuality, or race is still an everyday occurrence. When Samuel Heath wanted to get ordained, his church said no because of his sexuality. And when other churches found out that he was gay, they shut the door in his face too.
That’s where American Marriage Ministries comes into the picture. We ordained him online so that he could officiate weddings, counsel couples, and continue to practice his deep and beautiful faith on his own terms, in his community. Our church does not discriminate against anyone based on gender, sexuality, race or any other defining human characteristics.
Here at AMM, we believe that all people are created equal.
Last week Samuel officiated his first wedding after being ordained through AMM, but he’s been ministering for years.
“I started preaching when I was ten years old,” Samuel said. “I have been in the church all my life working in various positions. However, due to being same-gender-loving I was not able to be ordained."
"Eventually," he told us, "I wasn’t even welcome in certain spaces to worship. After receiving my master’s degree in divinity, I was offered to submit to a few rigorous processes or to pay for my ordination. I declined them both. Clear of who I am and my calling, I was confident I would eventually get to the end goal of helping people love."
Samuel is currently a graduate student majoring in marriage and family therapy at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. His goal is simple: “To ensure we all fall in love and stay in love.”
Samuel invests in the couples that he marries. For the couple that he joined in marriage last week, he worked with them to help them see “beyond the wedding and foster a relationship that sustains their marriage. While it may seem a small step, it was a major step. Working with my couple over the last few months in our 'Duet' sessions and finally standing with them at the altar, I was reminded that not only does love win, but love is always possible.”
For too long, religion has been used to divide people, to discriminate, and to isolate. It's time to flip the script and remember why we started out on this path together. Our spiritual journeys should bring us closer to a place of peace and joy - not hate and fear.
We want you to know that if your church won't stand with the oppressed, you will always have a home with us here at AMM.
If this inspires you, we encourage you to get ordained with us, and join our incredible community of like-minded individuals.