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Thu March 14, 2013
Winston-Salem Church Won’t Marry Heterosexual Couples Until Same-Sex Couples Can Marry
A church in Winston-Salem says it won’t marry heterosexual couples until same-sex couples can marry.
Members of the Leadership Council of Green Street United Methodist Church are planning a press conference Sunday to talk about their stance. Tim Sturgis is one of the congregation members and co-chair of a local organization called Interfaith Voice.
“We are asking our ministers not to perform sacraments of marriage, as far as the wedding vows, wedding rings, and the announcement of the marriage in the sanctuary until the United Methodist Church says it is equitable or same-sex couples can get married in the church,” says Tim Sturgis, a congregation member at the church and co-chair of a local organization called Interfaith Voice.
Instead of marriage ceremonies, council members at Green Street United Methodist are asking pastors to only conduct relationship blessings in the sanctuary. Sturgis says the council is also asking ministers to refuse signing any state marriage licenses until same sex couples can marry in North Carolina.
Currently, the United Methodist Church prohibits its pastors from conducting same-sex weddings. The church also bans gay and lesbian people from serving as clergy. Kelly Carpenter, pastor at the church says his congregation continues to diversify, and now has more than 15 gay and lesbian couples. He says he will honor the council’s request.
“The United Methodist Church like many other churches is struggling with language within the denomination. In 2012, there were many attempts to change all the language within the discipline around the issues around gay and lesbian people and all of those attempts seemed to fail. But the percentage of the way in which those votes are taken is narrowing, and I think eventually it will tip over and be more inclusive of the gay and lesbian folks in our denomination,” says Carpenter.
Church members at Green Street United Methodist will hold a press conference on March 17 at 2 p.m. to discuss the issue, and show their support for the LBGTQ community.