A South Carolina Baptist Church has been pushed out from Baptist organizations over the wedding of a gay couple.

Pastor Greg Dover of the Augusta Heights Baptist Church in Greenville officiated the wedding outside the church on October 10.

Dover told The Greenville News that he received permission from his deacons to perform the ceremony. He also said that the church itself did not take a position on the issue.

“Essentially, [church leaders] gave me the freedom to follow my convictions, which is a very Baptist thing to do,” Dover said. “I did not expect or ask everybody else to agree with me. I did not want to have our church take a vote or take an official position.”

The couple he married are longtime friends of his and have been together eight years, engaged for four.

The Greenville Baptist Association and the larger South Carolina Baptist Convention voted to sever ties with Augusta Heights. Both say the church is not welcome until it repents.

“Jesus always offered grace, but he always demanded repentance from sin,” Al Phillips, director of missions for the Greenville Baptist Association, told The News. “There are a lot of things you can agree to disagree on, but this isn't one of them.”

“Marriage is so holy and so important that it warrants the breaking of fellowship with a church that leaves the Biblical teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he added.

Dover said that he was prepared to stand by his actions.

“[I]f I'm going to be damned for anything, it's going to be for including someone who God might exclude rather than excluding someone who God would include,” he said.