NEW YORK — A group of over 800 United Methodists in New York and Connecticut on Monday, Oct. 17, will announce its intention to make weddings available to all people, gay and straight, in spite of their denomination’s ban on gay marriage.
The announcement will mark the kickoff of a project called “We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality” to directly reach out to LGBT groups in New York and Connecticut and let them know about clergy members who will perform weddings for gay couples.
Local pastors who are part of the new network are risking their jobs and their careers. In all, 161 clergy members, 703 lay people and six entire congregations representing 67 United Methodist congregations have pledged to perform marriages for couples who are gay or lesbian – despite the United Methodist Church’s ban on gay marriage.
“We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality” is part of a new pastoral movement, refusing to discriminate against any of God’s children. Since organizing for We do! began a year ago, the movement has spread to 19 states and the District of Columbia. It has gained increased urgency as New York joined Connecticut in legalizing gay marriage, and is expected to have reverberations at the April 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, where the rules that govern the entire denomination are set.