Nearly 100 United Methodist Church ministers defied their Church’s ban on gay and lesbian weddings by blessing the union of a lesbian couple at a convention hall in Sacramento, CA on Saturday. Still more ministers could not attend the ceremony, but signed petitions of support for the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Over 1,000 Methodists from the West coast who did not know the brides attended the ceremony as well.
Brides Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton are members of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Sacramento, led by the Rev. Donald Fado. Rev. Fado led Saturday’s ceremony, which was essentially a protest, given that the brides had already exchanged vows in a private ceremony. Fado has been a long-time foe of the Methodist Church’s ban on same-sex marriage.
So far, the Church has tried only one pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Creech on Omaha, Nebraska, for violating the ban on same-sex marriages, and ignored violations by other ministers who performed the marriage ceremonies. Ministers at the recent ceremony pledged that they would continue their struggle for gay rights and hoped that the recent ceremony was too big for Church leaders to ignore.