More clergy vow to marry gay couples

October 18, 2011

Risking
their careers or standing
in the United Methodist Church, at least 164 clergy and six
congregations from Long Island to the Catskill Mountains and southern
Connecticut are vowing to marry same-sex couples. Hundreds of UMC clergy
elsewhere in the U.S. have made similar pledges, but this new network is
actively contacting LGBT groups with their offers and publishing lists of the
willing clergy and supportive congregations.

The group "We do!
Methodists Living Marriage Equality
" announced on October 17 a covenant
also signed by 721 laypeople who declared, "We refuse to discriminate against
any of God's children and pledge to make marriage equality a lived reality"
within the New York Annual Conference, a geographic region of 73 congregations.
Both New York and Connecticut have legalized gay marriage.

"This is about pastoral care, about welcoming
all people, but especially the marginalized and the oppressed, like Jesus did,"
said Sara Lamar-Sterling, the minister at First and Summerfield United
Methodist Church in New Haven. The "We do!" project is co-sponsored by another
independent group, the New York chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social
Action.