Louisville Baptist church set to perform its first same-sex marriage in May
Pastor Phelps says they're not trying to be trailblazers or fly in the face of other churches, he says he's just obeying his conscience.
Tuesday, July 1st 2014, 9:02 pm EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's another big win for same-sex couples, this time in Kentucky. A federal judge in Louisville has struck down the state's gay marriage ban, but the fight is not over yet.
Gay marriage is currently on hold after Senior U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage. But Heyburn also issued a stay pending an appeals process.
Despite the minor setback, same-sex couples in Kentucky still say it’s progress and a Louisville church is gearing up for its first gay wedding.
"All of God's children are equal," said Pastor Joseph Phelps, who’s been at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville for 17 years.
"We have to obey our conscience," he said.
A conscience that’s focused on mercy and justice. Their building is more than 100 years old, but inside the front door, among the stained glass windows, lies a new outlook on equality.
"150 years ago the issue was slavery. 100 years ago it was women. Today, I'm excited to be in a point of time where it has to do with persons who are gay and lesbian," said Phelps.
Pastor Phelps says, two men in his church want to get married, and he’s agreed to perform the church’s first same-sex ceremony next May.
"The same words, the same vows that we ask of our other sex couples who marry, we're going to ask of these same-sex couples," he said.
The church’s decision came before Tuesday's ruling from Judge Heyburn, who says, "Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree."
Heyburn is the same judge who ruled Kentucky has to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where it's legal. Both rulings are under appeal.
"Everybody else is doing it, which is not a very good reason," Martin Cothran said of the logic for those rulings.
Cothran is senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation. He says Heyburn's reasons for his ruling that ‘gays are politically powerless’, doesn't make sense.
"I think the judge needs to get out a little bit more,” said Cothran, “maybe take a newspaper subscription or watch TV. That way he could see just how politically powerless the group of people whose political power resulted in this decision really are."
Pastor Phelps says they're not trying to be trailblazers or fly in the face of other churches.
"We understand that this is new and different and we honor the fact that that's going to be difficult for others to hear, and experience and recognize as faithful to God,” said Phelps. “But, to us, in our deepest understanding of where the holy spirit of God leads us this is the faithful act."
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