US: First Baptist Church of Memphis approves gay marriage
First Baptist Church in Memphis has thrown open the doors to gay weddings following a vote by the congregation resolving to allow gay marriages and ordination.
The move continues the church’s tradition of supporting LGBTI people. In 2001 the church baptised their first openly gay member of the congregation and in 2013 voted to ordain its first gay deacon.
"This morning continues the tradition at FBCMemphis of applying our theology and faith to the issues and needs of our times as a church where all are welcome," said Rev. David Breckenridge, senior pastor since 2008.
"Our church has a long history of being a progressive congregation where matters of social equality and justice are concerned."
The Church which was established 175 years ago was also one of the first to support the civil rights movement and welcome African Americans to worship. Its progressive values also saw it ordain its first female deacon in the 1990s.
About 70 percent of the 133 present voted in favour of the motion, which had been approved by the church's board of deacons in November.
The motion read:
"As Christ's church, First Baptist Memphis is called to minister equally to all persons, extending to them the privileges afforded to any follower of Christ, including, but not limited to, baptism, membership, leadership, ordination, and marriage and will not discriminate based on race, gender, age, marital status, or sexual orientation."