An openly gay pastor in the United Methodist Church said he will conduct same-sex weddings despite the denomination’s recent vote to maintain its view that homosexuality runs counter to the Gospel and will enforce tougher punishments for violating church discipline.
Pastor Mark Thompson, a 61-year-old father of three, is a pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Lansing, Michigan, who has lived openly as a homosexual for the past 10 years, according to WKAR.
Since the UMC Book of Discipline considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching,” Thompson said it has been hard for him to stay celibate and ignore his desire to be in a same-sex relationship.
Although he will continue to refrain from being in a romantic relationship, Thompson doesn’t believe that other Christians who are same-sex attracted should be required to live celibate lives.
Thompson said he will now perform same-sex wedding ceremonies despite the passing of the “Traditional Plan” at the special session of the UMC General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, last week.
The Traditional Plan bolstered the 12 million-member denomination’s stance against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and the ordination of non-celibate same-sex attracted pastors. Included in the plan was a vow to better enforce the denomination’s rules, considering some UMC pastors are in openly gay relationships and marriages.
Despite the vow, Thompson asserted that he needs to marry same-sex couples in order to “treat people with equity.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith