Louisville, Kentucky - On Sunday, April 17, the congregation of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) unanimously voted to end the practice of signing marriage licenses because they give legal benefits to heterosexual couples that are not available to homosexual couples. Until the church's ministers may confer identical legal benefits on homosexual and heterosexual couples, they will perform only religious wedding ceremonies.
"As an Open and Affirming Community of Faith (a designation signifying DBCC's commitment to full acceptance of all people, regardless of race, gender, age, or sexual orientation), our membership is committed to treating homosexuals and heterosexuals equally. Our congregation believes it is unfair to provide different services and benefits to heterosexual couples than we can provide to gay and lesbian couples," said associate minister Rev. Ryan Kemp-Pappan.
Senior minister Rev. Derek Penwell added, "Heterosexual couples enjoy a number of benefits that result from having state-sanctioned union. They may inherit property, adopt children together, visit one another in the hospital, and save thousands each year in taxes by filing as a couple. Ministers, as agents of the state, have the power to confer these benefits-and the imprimatur of normalcy-on heterosexual couples, but we do not have the honor to bestow these benefits on gay and lesbian couples."
"In our attempt to live out God's call to pursue justice for all, the Elders of the congregation joined the Pastors in witnessing to the right for gay and lesbian persons to God's blessing on their union and witnessing to the Commonwealth toward ending the refusal to recognize these unions," said Rev. Chuck Lewis, Chair of Elders with the church.
Douglass Boulevard Christian Church, founded in 1846, has historically been committed to the pursuit of justice for all people, offering leadership in trying to live out the message of love and hospitality embodied by Jesus. In 2008, Douglass Boulevard Christian Church voted to become an Open and Affirming Community of Faith.
Douglass Boulevard Christian Church is located at 2005 Douglass Boulevard in the Highlands near Douglass Loop. For more information on the church, visit www.douglassblvdcc.com.