No more weddings at Austin church until same-sex marriages allowed

A local pastor said her congregation has decided there will be no more weddings at their church until leadership allows for same-sex couples to get married.

Taylor Fuerst, is a Senior Pastor for the First United Methodist Church of Austin.

“Together we decided by vote to change our wedding policy so that our policy for weddings is equal for all couples.” Pastor Fuerst said they want the language changed in the church's doctrine to include same-sex marriages and until then they will not allow weddings in their sanctuary or chapel.

Hundreds of people attend the downtown Austin congregation.

In the last year, many of the members have been doing research, holding town hall discussions and praying about the issue. Late September, parishioners voted, and 93% are in favor of equality for all.

“It is this huge opportunity we think for sharing Gods love with them. Gods unconditional undying love for them not in spite of who they are but because of who they are,” Pastor Fuerst said.

The doctrine of the United Methodist Church reads:

"We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Pastor Fuerst said throughout her time with the church she has heard members of the LGBTQ community told they are an actual sin, something she feels is not true and morally wrong. “To see the tears and the hurt that people have felt inflicted by the church over their whole lives, it's heartbreaking,” she said.

Pastor Fuerst said they are not the first congregation in the global church to take a stand on equality.

Their ultimate goal is full inclusion of all people.

“You can be who you are and God loves you, when you get to tell somebody that, it's life-changing.” She said it's time to stand in solidarity with all people of faith and make ceremonies equal for those who choose to be married. “My goodness, God wants to be part of the weddings of same sex couples, and their marriages throughout their lives and to without hold that and limit that is just not right."

Pastor Fuerst said weddings already scheduled at the church will still be allowed to take place.