A North Carolina church says that it will not host any wedding ceremonies or sign any marriage licenses until couples of the same sex are provided the same opportunity to marry as straight couples.
In an interview that aired on Monday, Green Street United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Kelly Carpenter told WXII that heterosexual members of his congregation wanted same sex couples to “share a sense of the love that they have found.”
On Friday, the church posted a statement to its Facebook page explaining that “the church sees injustice in the legal position of state government and the theological position of our denomination.”
“North Carolina prohibits same sex marriage and all the rights and privileges marriage brings,” the statement said. “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.”
“Because the United Methodist Church prohibits its pastors from conducting same sex weddings, excluding gay and lesbian couples from the holy sacrament of marriage, the Leadership Council has asked their pastor to refrain from conducting wedding ceremonies in our sanctuary for straight couples, until the denomination lifts its ban for same sex couples.”
The church planned to hold “relationship blessings” until the state of North Carolina and the United Methodist Church agree to allow equal rights for LGBT people.
Carpenter told WFDD that there were now 15 gay and lesbian couples the congregation, and the membership was continuing to diversify.
Green Street was thought to be the first Methodist church in the South to halt wedding ceremonies over marriage discrimination.
Watch this video from WXII, broadcast March 18, 2013.