Church Refuses to Marry Straight Couples Until It Can Marry Gay Couples
We don’t often think of religious leaders as being at the forefront in the fight for marriage equality, because they often, well, aren’t. Because of this, the ones who are tend to stick out – and be worthy of our commendation.
Take the leaders at the Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., for example. They’ve decided they’ll no longer perform marriage ceremonies for straight couples until both the state of North Carolina and the United Methodist Church allow them to officiate at same-sex weddings. The 18-member leadership council has asked the church’s ministers not to sign any marriage licenses until the law and the Methodist Church’s position on gay marriage changes.
In the meantime, they’ll only be performing relationship blessings for members of the church.
Currently, the United Methodist Church teaches that gay people are “individuals of sacred worth,” just like straight people are. However, it doesn’t condone same-sex relationships or the “practice of homosexuality,” and refuses to bless same-sex marriages.
“On the matter of gay marriage, the church sees injustice in the legal position of state government and the theological position of our denomination,” said a statement the church released through Equality NC. “The leadership council has asked that their ministers join others who refuse to sign any state marriage licenses until this right is granted to same-sex couples.”
In a radio interview on Friday, Green Street pastor Reverend Kelly Carpenter revealed there are over 15 same-sex couples in his congregation
In recent years, there have been a number of straight couples who’ve publicly stated their intent to forgo marriage until it was available to everyone — which, while a lovely thought, probably doesn’t accomplish much. I mean, who cares whether Dick and Jane down the street are holding off on their nuptials or not?
But this, because it directly affects the lives of those who might not have otherwise given much thought to marriage equality and because it might inspire other more liberal congregations to do the same, has a better chance of making a difference. Here’s hoping it does.