First United Methodist Church in Austin voted on Sept. 24 to temporarily stop wedding ceremonies. The congregation voted 93 percent in favor.
Taylor Fuerst, the church’s senior pastor, said he hopes the vote “will have a unifying effect on the congregation.”
“It communicates even more to our city that if you are in the LGBTQ community that you are not tolerated here, but embraced,” he said.
Currently, the Methodist church bans same-sex unions from being performed by pastors or taking place at Methodist churches. The denomination’s Book of Discipline, which governs the Methodist church, also says that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Congregations are not required to hold weddings.
“This vote demonstrates that our members are willing to sacrifice a position of privilege in order to stand in solidarity with those who are discriminated against,” said Davis Covin, who was on the Austin church’s discernment team. “I think this also serves as a great example to the children and youth in our church by showing that our members strive for social justice and equality for all God’s children.”
So far, 11 United Methodist churches have agreed to temporarily stop holding wedding ceremonies until the denomination lifts the ban on same-sex weddings.