Church: No weddings until same-sex allowed

Nov. 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM
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RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., say there will be no legal marriages in their church until the state accepts same-sex marriage.

The congregation voted unanimously Sunday to prohibit the church's pastor from signing state marriage certificates for anyone until she can legally marry same-sex couples in North Carolina, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported.

The church said marriage ceremonies will still be conducted at the church, but they will be holy unions that "reflect the spiritual nature of the solemn commitments between two people in a loving relationship."

The congregants said current North Carolina law discriminates against same-sex couples "by denying them the rights and privileges enjoyed by heterosexual married couples."

"As people of faith, affirming the Christian teaching that before God all people are equal, we will no longer participate in this discrimination," the church's statement said.

Pullen, founded in 1884, has about 650 members and describes itself on its Web site as a progressive community of faith "made up of people of all ages, diverse walks of life, sexual orientations and religious backgrounds." The church, whose pastor is a lesbian, was kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1992 after a decision to bless gay marriages but remains part of the American Baptist Churches USA denomination, the newspaper said.

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