The Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., is taking a stand for marriage equality by refusing to conduct marriages for heterosexual couples until United Methodist polices are changed to allow pastors to officiate at marriages for same-sex couples as well.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the church’s 18-member leadership council is instead “asking pastors to conduct relationship blessings rather than marriage ceremonies in the sanctuary.”
“On the matter of gay marriage, the church sees injustice in the legal position of state government and the theological position of our denomination,” the church’s spokespeople said in a statement. “North Carolina prohibits same-sex marriage and all the rights and privileges marriage brings. 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.”
“Green Street is presently the only reconciling congregation in the western North Carolina Conference,” the statement said. “With a growing number of LGBTQ members, Green Street seeks to be a public witness to its community, conference and denomination.”
North Carolina voters passed a constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples last May with 60% in favor of the amendment. However, Green Street pastor Kelly Carpenter believes people’s views are evolving and told WFDD radio that public opinion would “eventually … tip over and be more inclusive of … gay and lesbian folks.”