Best Expression of Solidarity

Trinity United Methodist Church Bans Straight Marriages

In a year ridiculously dominated by freakouts about gay marriage -- a political wedge issue that some ministers were happy to hammer into the country's already deep cultural divide -- one midtown church made a striking statement in solidarity with its gay members. Back around Valentine's Day, the 275 members of the 85-year-old Trinity United Methodist Church at 620 East Armour Boulevard decided that if gay couples couldn't get married in their church, straight couples couldn't, either. "Two couples came to us asking us if they could get married in our sanctuary -- a male couple and a female couple," recalls Trinity's pastor, the Rev. Sally Haynes. "Because of the laws of the United Methodist Church, we can't celebrate same-sex unions in our buildings. They asked the question: Two strangers could come in off the street and, if they're a man and a woman, they could be married in our sanctuary, but we who are tithing members cannot? They were right. And so our choice has been to stay within United Methodist Church law but to also provide equality." Haynes says the move wasn't a big deal, because part of the church's mission is to welcome people of all sexual orientations. "You'll find straight, gay, old, young, families of every type worshipping together on a Sunday morning," she says. "We got a lot of publicity, and I got a lot of responses from people beyond the church. I got more positive comments than I did negative. It was a lot of the straight people in our congregation who were most energized around this issue."

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