Couples hoping for a dream wedding within the sanctuary of a North Carolina church will have to wait.
The Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem has announced it will no longer conduct wedding ceremonies until its pastors are allowed to marry same-sex couples.
“Our denomination struggles to overcome the sin of reserving these sacramental privileges for straight people only. We, the leaders of Green Street Church, see people in same-sex relationships as completely worthy of the Sacrament of Marriage. We reject any notion that they are second class citizens in the Kingdom of God,” said a church statement
The church has at least 15 same-sex couples in its congregation. Its leadership council is asking pastors to conduct “relationship blessings” rather than marriages until the United Methodist Church changes its stance on gay marriage, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
The announcement on Facebook, followed by a press conference, was greeted with both praise and disappointment. Many people posted Bible verses and condemned the church’s embracing homosexuality.
“While I hold to the mantra of ‘love the sinner,’ I also hold to the teaching of ‘hate the sin.’ No matter how you look at the scriptures, homosexuality is a sin. Period. If you promote homosexuality you might as well promote other sexual sins as well. Shame on you,” Andy Scott Bell wrote on the church’s Facebook wall.
According to a statewide vote in May 2012, gay marriage is not something that North Carolinians want: 61 percent of voters were in favor of a constitutional amendment to keep marriage defined as between a man and a woman.
“The religious freedom of faith communities is best protected when there are laws protecting marriage,” Thomas Peters, National Organization for Marriage spokesman, told Fox News.
“What individual churches choose to do with that freedom is their responsibility.”
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