US: Texas Church Says It Won’t Officiate Weddings Until It Can Marry Same-Sex Couples

A Texas church recently voted to stop hosting weddings as long as its denomination prohibits clergy from officiating same-sex marriages.

The First United Methodist Church in downtown Austin announced on its website that its congregation had voted 93 percent in favor of the new resolution “to align its wedding policies with its strongly-held principle of full inclusion of all persons.”

People who scheduled their weddings before the resolution was announced would still be able to continue them as planned, the church said. But the clergy would not schedule new ceremonies. The church published a video on its Facebook page on Thursday explaining the process that led to its decision.

“This is a step we feel called to take as we continue to strive for change in the wider church,” the Austin church’s senior pastor, Rev. Taylor Fuerst, said in the video.

The house of worship is formally affiliated with the United Methodist Church, which does not permit clergy to officiate same-sex weddings. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states in a landmark ruling in 2015. But in the UMC, clergy risk being defrocked if they oversee such unions.

In its resolution, the Austin church argued that the denomination’s policies regarding marriage and sexuality “are incompatible with the inclusive teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as our United Methodist Constitution, and are fundamentally contrary to our mission and to our service to each member of the church.” Read more via HuffPost