Louisville's Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) voted unanimously on Sunday to stop signing marriage licenses until gay couples can marry as well:
On Sunday, April 17, the congregation of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) unanimously voted to end the practice of signing marriage licenses because they give legal benefits to heterosexual couples that are not available to homosexual couples. Until the church's ministers may confer identical legal benefits on homosexual and heterosexual couples, they will perform only religious wedding ceremonies.
"As an Open and Affirming Community of Faith (a designation signifying DBCC's commitment to full acceptance of all people, regardless of race, gender, age, or sexual orientation), our membership is committed to treating homosexuals and heterosexuals equally. Our congregation believes it is unfair to provide different services and benefits to heterosexual couples than we can provide to gay and lesbian couples," said associate minister Rev. Ryan Kemp-Pappan.
Senior minister Rev. Derek Penwell added, "Heterosexual couples enjoy a number of benefits that result from having state-sanctioned union. They may inherit property, adopt children together, visit one another in the hospital, and save thousands each year in taxes by filing as a couple. Ministers, as agents of the state, have the power to confer these benefits-and the imprimatur of normalcy-on heterosexual couples, but we do not have the honor to bestow these benefits on gay and lesbian couples."
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Kudos to the church for not partaking in bigotry.Â However this is whyÂ ALL couples who want a state-sanctioned union with the benefits that come with that union should have to go through a justice of the peace to obtain a civil union. Then if they want a religious "marriage" they can have a ceremony at their church after they have obtained a civil union license. That way churches can perform a same-sex wedding ceremony if they want to and churches who disagree with same-sex unions can't be forced to perform them. The benefits that come from unions should be bestowed by the government not by religious instituitions.