First Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids,
Iowa has decided to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, making it
the first Baptist church in the state to do so.
“Everyone is welcome,” Pastor
Dorothy Whiston told CBS
News. “Everyone is equal in God's eyes.”
“We see love as valued by God,
whomever it's between,” she added.
“It's always wrong to say that
there's some group of people, for whatever reason, by virtue of who
they are, who are excluded from any opportunity. And I would
certainly say that's true of marriage as well.”
The church, which includes about 50
members, already hosts weekly LGBT Alcoholics Anonymous meetings,
counseling and workshops.
“I think we are known in the
community, in the gay community, as being a friendly place to come,”
Lois Lee, one the church's senior
members, said: “It was a long time coming. It's about time.”
The Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay
nuptials in 2009.