A North Carolina church is making a powerful statement by refusing to marry straight couples until gay ones have the same right.
“As our nation struggles to provide legal recognition to people in same-sex relationships and provide them the privileges allotted to opposite-sex married couples, our denomination struggles to overcome the sin of reserving these sacramental privileges for straight people only,” Green Street United Methodist Church said in a statement. “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.”
The church’s affirmation of marriage equality comes less than a year after voters in North Carolina approved a ban on gay marriage in the state.
More than just protesting their state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, the Green Street congregation is resisting the United Methodist Church’s official book of laws and doctrines, which calls homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.” In a vote of 61 to 39 percent, delegates voted against changing the Book of Discipline’s long-contested language at a 2012 annual convention.
But the ruling seems to be out of touch with the everyday values among its community, at least at Green Street.
“This is just part of who we are as a church,” Katherine Skarbek, Green Street Leadership Council chair, told a local news outlet. “We’re a welcoming community. One of our phrases we like to use on Sunday mornings is all means all. So whoever wants to come here and worship with us is welcome.”