Why This Texas Church Is Refusing To Perform Weddings

Photographed by Megan Madden.
When the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex couples could legally be married nationwide, it seemed that we would never again have to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people to marry the person they love. But that's not exactly true.
Because of religious freedom laws, businesses and churches run by people with certain religious beliefs (read: that being gay is a sin) can and do still refuse to contribute to a same-sex wedding. But one church in Texas has had enough.
The First United Methodist Church in downtown Austin recently voted to ban all marriages (straight or gay) performed at the church or by church clergy as long as the denomination prohibits performing same-sex marriages.
As of now, the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline maintains that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," and the denomination has policies barring LGBTQ people both from being ordained or married by the church.
After watching three queer couples be forced to marry outside of their church, the First United Methodist Church community decided it was high time to challenge those teachings. In an announcement to their website, the church said UNC's policies on LGBTQ people 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."
The decision to ban marriages from the church was approved by 93% of the members who voted.
"They didn’t even have the option to wed in the church," the church's pastor, Rev. Taylor Fuerst, told The Huffington Post of LGBTQ members. "Their weddings were joyful, beautiful occasions, but it was painful to have the shadow of this exclusion over so many people who are faithful, growing disciples of Christ and leaders in our congregation. It goes directly against what we believe Jesus taught and revealed to us about God in scripture."
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