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Mar 16, 2013

Winston-Salem Church Won’t Marry Anyone Until Same-Gender Couples Can Marry

(Credit: Green Street United Methodist Church)

Winston-Salem, NC - Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem says it won’t marry heterosexual couples until same sex couples can marry. Instead of marriage ceremonies, council members at Green Street United Methodist are asking pastors to only conduct relationship blessings in the sanctuary.

Members of the Leadership Council of Green Street UM Church will publish a Public Statement on Marriage at a Press Conference on March 17, 2013, at 2 pm, in the Sanctuary of Green Street UMC, 639 S. Green Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.

CLICK HERE to read the full release from Green Street United Methodist Church.

In a release sent to Equality NC, a Church spokesperson said,

"On the matter of gay marriage, 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 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.

Green Street is presently the only Reconciling Congregation in the Western North Carolina Conference. With a growing number of LGBTQ members, Green Street seeks to be a public witness to its community, Conference and denomination."

Currently, the United Methodist Church prohibits its pastors from conducting same sex weddings. The church also bans gay and lesbian people from serving as clergy. Kelly Carpenter, pastor at the church told WFFD that his congregation continues to diversify, and now has more than 15 gay and lesbian couples. He says he will honor the council’s request.

“The United Methodist Church like many other churches is struggling with language within the denomination. In 2012, there were many attempts to change all the language within the discipline around the issues around gay and lesbian people and all of those attempts seemed to fail. But the percentage of the way in which those votes are taken is narrowing, and I think eventually it will tip over and be more inclusive of the gay and lesbian folks in our denomination,” says Carpenter.

At the Sunday press conference, members of the congregation will discuss the issue and how the church leadership arrived at this stance .

For further information, please contact Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter at 336-722-8379, or revkelly@gmail.com.

Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.

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