WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Methodist church in Winston-Salem, N.C., said it will no longer perform marriages for heterosexual couples until United Methodist pastors are allowed to officiate at marriages for same-sex couples.
The Green Street United Methodist Church‘s 18-member leadership council is asking its pastor to conduct relationship blessings rather than marriage ceremonies in the sanctuary until the United Methodist Church changes its policies.
“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,” the church said, in a statement.
“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.”
The church council has scheduled a Sunday news conference to discuss its position.
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.
In May 2012, voters in North Carolina passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, approved by more than 60 percent of voters.