North Carolina church: No more weddings until gay marriage is legalised

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The progressive Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, has said it will not be holding marriages for anyone until the state legalises same-sex unions.

The Raleigh Observer reports that the congregation voted in favour of the move on Sunday.

They agreed blessings for relationships will still be held, but no official weddings will take place.

The congregants said North Carolina is discriminating against its gay couples “by denying them the rights and privileges enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.”

The church’ statement said: “As people of faith, affirming the Christian teaching that before God all people are equal, we will no longer participate in this discrimination.”

In September, North Carolina’s House of Representatives approved plans for a voter referendum on a gay marriage ban.

Although the state does not recognise gay marriage, the move would enact a constitutional ban on the practice, which would prevent the courts from ruling for marriage equality.

This month, a Democrat sitting in the state’s House of Representatives defended her statement that there was a “special place in hell” for the Republicans who approved the referendum.

The Pullen Memorial Baptist Church has taken action against perceived social injustices since the 1950s. First opposing racial segregation and welcoming black people into the congregation, it later spoke out against the Vietnam War.

The church was critical of the nuclear arms race and the more recent invasion of Iraq.

In 1992 it officially endorsed full involvement of its gay followers.