Church to Deny Marriage Ceremonies Until 'Same-Sex Couples' Have Equal Rights

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A Winston-Salem Methodist church says it will stop performing marriage ceremonies for heterosexual couples until same-sex couples get the same rights.

The Green Street Methodist Church held a news conference Sunday.  The church's 18-member leadership council has asked pastors to conduct relationship blessings rather than marriage ceremonies in the sanctuary until the United Methodist Church changes its policies.  The church is also asking its ministers not to sign any marriage licenses until North Carolina recognizes gay and lesbian marriages.

In its initial announcement released through Equality NC, the church said it sees injustice in the legal position of state government and the theological position of its denomination.  Outside Raleigh's Edenton Street Methodist Church Sunday, opinions varied.

"I really feel that a person should be able to marry whom they love regardless of gender," Karen Padgett said, " And it is an issue that we struggle with as a church, and I'm just praying for the correct guidance for our church leadership."

But another churchgoer, who did not give her name, disagreed.

"I just think marriage is between a man and a woman with the religious service," she said.

Web: Press