Iowa Church Votes Against Holding Couple’s Homosexual Marriage Ceremony

Jesus Martell Gonzalez (L) and Derek Harmon (R) are not allowed to marry at Harmon’s hometown church in Iowa, because they are gay. (Photo: Courtesy of Jesus Martell Gonzalez)

A church voted to ban a gay marriage ceremony, crushing the couple’s lifelong dream.

Derek Harmon, 31, a physician’s assistant in Bakersfield, California, always wanted to get married at Salem Lutheran Church in Lake Mills, Iowa. “His siblings married there, his parents are active members, and the church’s mission trips inspired him to go into medicine.” Hamon’s fiancé Jesus Martell Gonzalez, 30, a business development professional, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

The gay community is accepted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), according to its website. However, it allows individual churches to decide whether or not to recognize gay marriage.

It was worth a try to Harmon, so he proposed to Gonzalez on a private island in Zanzibar, and in 2018, the couple met with church leaders. “The pastors were compassionate and understanding,” Gonzalez tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But they said our request needed approval from the church’s board of directors and a vote by the congregation.”

While waiting to hear back from the church, preparations — including a wedding date — were stalled. In late 2018, the church held its first vote. “That was contentious,” says Gonzalez. “There were arguments about whether people cheated by voting twice.”

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SOURCE: Yahoo, Elise Solé