Health & Spirit

Austin church: We won't hold weddings until we can marry same-sex couples

Eric Webb, Austin American-Statesman on

Published in Religious News

AUSTIN, Texas -- An Austin church is making much ado about "I do" as a statement in support of marriage equality.

First United Methodist Church says it will no longer hold weddings in its sanctuary or chapel until denominational leadership lifts its ban on marrying same-sex couples, according to a statement from the church. The downtown Austin church's congregation OK'd the resolution with 93 percent approval.

The United Methodist Church, the Christian denomination's national body, does not permit same-sex couples to be married on church property. United Methodist clergy are also not allowed to perform weddings for same-sex couples.

Weddings already scheduled at the Austin church will still take place, and pastors at the church will "continue to offer blessings, prayers or homilies for couples who marry off-site, regardless of sexual orientation," according to the church's statement.

?"Our congregation voted overwhelmingly to stand not for issues or principles, but for people," First United Methodist Church senior pastor Taylor Fuerst said in a statement.

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Founded in 1840, First United Methodist Church became a "reconciling" congregation in 2013, joining a national group trying to change the denomination's position that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

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