A North Carolina Baptist church has
voted to prohibit its pastor from legally marrying a heterosexual
couple until gay marriage is legal in the state, the News
The 650-member congregation of Pullen
Memorial Baptist Church, a progressive, gay-inclusive church in
Raleigh, voted on Sunday for the measure.
The congregants described North
Carolina's marriage laws as discriminatory in a formal statement.
“As people of faith, affirming the
Christian teaching that before God all people are equal, we will no
longer participate in this discrimination,” the statement reads.
Marriages will continue to take place
at the church, but its pastor, Nancy Petty, won't sign a certificate
the state requires to establish a legal marriage.
Sunday's unanimous vote was prompted by
Petty expressing concerns over the summer that being barred from
signing legal marriage certificates for gay couples had become a
burden on her conscience.
North Carolina voters in May will
decide on whether to amend the state constitution forbidding the
state from recognizing the unions of gay couples with marriage, civil
unions and possibly domestic partnerships.
A decision to bless the unions of gay
couples resulted in the church being kicked out of the Southern
Baptist Convention in 1992.