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Photo courtesy of the Green Street Church.
The Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is taking bold action in the fight for equality. From their press release:
Public Statement on Marriage, Standing in Solidarity with LGBTQ members.

Winston-Salem, NC – Members of the Leadership Council of Green Street United Methodist Church published a Public Statement on Marriage at a Press Conference on March 17, 2013 at 2 p.m. in the Sanctuary of Green Street UMC, 639 S. Green Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.

On the matter of same-sex marriage, Green Street UMC 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 the 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 UMC 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.

In an interview with the United Methodist News Service, the Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter had this to say:
“I do not see it as an act of exclusion for straight couples, but an invitation for all people to be in solidarity with those who are excluded,” said the Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter, the church’s senior pastor, in a pastoral letter. “Some may think it to be a sacrifice made by straight couples, but I think a better way to see it is the creation of a level playing field in one sacred space.”
As you might imagine, the church leadership's position is not without controversy:
But the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, the vice president and general manager of the unofficial evangelical caucus Good News, said he thinks it is possible Green Street may still run afoul of church law even though he is uncertain whether the point of law has been litigated. Lambrecht has argued cases before the United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court.

“If the blessings could be construed as celebrating homosexual unions, then that is a chargeable offense,” Lambrecht said. “But I don’t know if that issue has been litigated.”

Let's hope more church leaders heed the call to action and start standing up for equality. In the meantime, three cheers for the Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter and the Green Street United Methodist Church!

Originally posted to Scout Finch on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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