WASHINGTON, D.C. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, now says he supports gay marriage.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Wallis spoke of the need to renew and reestablish the importance of marriage in society.
"I think we should include same-sex couples in that renewal of marriage, [but] I want to talk marriage first," he said in the April 5 interview. "Marriage needs some strengthening. Let's start with marriage, and then I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage. I want a deeper commitment to marriage that is more and more inclusive, and that's where I think the country is going."
Asked specifically whether he supports gay marriage, Wallis said, "yes."
In a 2008 interview with Christianity Today, Wallis made mostly a traditional case for marriage.
"I don't think the sacrament of marriage should be changed," he said then. "Some people say that Jesus didn't talk about homosexuality, and that's technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it's not gender-neutral. I have never done a blessing for a same-sex couple. I've never been asked to do one. I'm not sure that I would."
Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said that Wallis should have stuck to his former position.
"I am profoundly disappointed that Jim Wallis would take a position on same-sex marriage that is so utterly contradictory to what the Bible tells us God has declared marriage to be," Land said.
Although Wallis had not previously stated his support for gay marriage publicly, Sojourners itself came close in 2012, after President Obama declared he backed gay marriage. That May 2012 statement said, "Sojourners supports equal protection under the law and full legal rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation." The statement, though, did not mention marriage and could have been interpreted several different ways.