While Minnesota legislators continue to debate who gets to legally say, “I do,” a Minneapolis church has decided, to say it won’t. “I will no longer sign marriage licenses. Opposite gender couples will have to go to the judge at city hall to have them signed,” said Pastor Don Portwood from the Lyndale United Church of Christ.
Members of the 120 year old church in South Minneapolis voted unanimously to support the move. “We have decided that we are no longer going to discriminate against same gender couples, that we will only do religious weddings and religious ceremonies for same gender or opposite gender couples.”
This is the second metro area church to stop performing civil unions. Reverend Victoria Safford from the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church stopped signing marriage papers three years ago. “What we have found is that the members of our congregation have supported this decision wholeheartedly.” She also acknowledged that the decision gives couples one more hurdle, “there is an extra step now, in addition to meeting with me, and with their caterer, and planning the ceremony, they have to find a judge or civic authority who will sign their marriage papers.”
Charles Darrell from Minnesota for Marriage, a group which is seeking a constitutional marriage amendment to the state’s constitution that would ban same-sex marriages, responded to the church’s announcement this way, “Marriage will be challenged in Minnesota and the actions of these two churches simply proves that the battle has already begun.”
That appears to be the one aspect of this hotly debated issue that both sides agree on.
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