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Church's interracial marriage ban voided

Dec. 5, 2011 at 2:03 AM

PIKEVILLE, Ky., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A Baptist congregation in eastern Kentucky voted unanimously Sunday to overturn a short-lived ban on interracial marriage, the church's pastor said.

The Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church stirred up a controversy last week when a handful of members of the small congregation voted 9-6 in favor of outlawing interracial marriage after a church member brought her black fiance to a service.

Pastor Stacy Stepp told WLEX-TV, Lexington, that despite being unable to find any Bible passages opposing interracial marriage, he had been unable to head off the earlier vote.

"I tried in every way possible to resolve this matter before it got to where it did," Stepp said.

The pastor then consulted with other Baptist leaders in the region on the issue before bringing the matter back before the congregation Sunday. The result was a unanimous vote "to accept all people regardless of race, creed or color into the fellowship of Christ," Stepp said.

"We'll grow from it," the pastor said. "It's made me stronger. It's showed me what I need to do the next time I'm faced with an issue."

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