When covering the wide divide between liberal Christians and Christian conservatives, is the status of same-sex marriage the only doctrinal issue that matters?
Of course not.
In fact, if you dig deep enough, you'll often find that other issues are much more important in these disputes, such as how different brands of believers view the authority of scripture (especially in low-church Protestant settings) and how much authority they grant ancient doctrines taught in the early church (especially in high-church, liturgical settings).
Yes, there are times when a person's experiences linked to sexuality leads him or her to seek a new ecclesiastical home. That is common. However, even then, this faith crisis almost always involves other doctrines, other theological issues.
But sexuality -- same-sex marriage, in particular -- is the hot issue right now and that is what mainstream reporters will write about, over and over, even when other issues are involved.
If you want to see this process at work, check out the recent New York Times "Weddings" feature that ran with this headline: "Two Pastors in Love, and Only God Knows." The basic structure of this story is seen in the overture:
Pastor Twanna Gause stepped out of a limousine amid the whir of cameras outside the New Vision Full Gospel Baptist Church in East Orange, N.J.
Dressed in an off-white wedding gown and veil that sparkled in the cascading sunshine, she carried a bouquet of white roses and lilies, hugged several guests, then parted a sea of well-wishers on the way to her best friend, Pastor Vanessa Brown, who stood waiting at the altar in a cream-colored long coat called a sherwani and gold Punjabi jutti shoes.
The church doors opened, allowing the faint strains of “You Are So Beautiful” to float on the hot August air.