Nashville-based GracePointe megachurch
recently announced that it will permit gays to marry and have their
Citing her church's acceptance of its
LGBT members, country music artist Carrie Underwood roughly
two-and-a-half years ago came out in support of marriage equality,
saying that the non-denominational evangelical church that she and
her husband Mike Fischer, a professional hockey player, attend is
“Our church is gay friendly,” she
told the UK's The
Independent. “Above all, God wanted us to love others. …
It's not up to me to judge anybody.”
Underwood's comments led to the church
being picketed by the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.
At the time, however, GracePointe
limited the involvement of LGBT people, excluding them from serving
on the board and leading worship. Gay people could be baptized and
receive communion, but they could not be married or have their
About the same time, the church began
to hold a conversation with members about the policy.
On January 11, pastor Stan Mitchell
announced that he had reached a decision.
“Our position that these siblings of
ours, other than heterosexual, our position that these our siblings
cannot have the full privileges of membership, but only partial
membership, has changed,” he told his congregation. “Full
privileges are extended now to you with the same expectations of
faithfulness, sobriety, holiness, wholeness, fidelity, godliness,
skill, and willingness. That is expected of all. Full membership
means being able to serve in leadership and give all of your gifts
and to receive all the sacraments; not only communion and baptism,
but child dedication and marriage.”
to TIME, was mixed. Some in the audience jumped to their feet
and applauded, while others sat quietly.
“If this stretches you to the point
of having to compromise your soul, and you do need to separate, I
would be a hypocrite to say I do not understand that, because
conversely, my soul has been stretched to the point that if I do not
say what I say today, I cannot be here any longer,” Mitchell said.
GracePointe is the second evangelical
megachuch behind Eastlake Community Church in Seattle to fully accept
churches slowly embrace gay marriage, TIME reports.)
Tennessee is one of 14 states where gay
and lesbian couples are not allowed to marry.