Ashland Church Stops Signing Heterosexual Marriage Licenses

Allison Brandow, Faith Reporter,

Four clergy from an Ashland, Ore., church are refusing to sign marriage licenses for heterosexual couples, indicating they will resume signing licenses when same-sex couples can also legally marry.  The Rev. Pam Shepherd of First Congregational United Church of Christ, along with three retired clergy, declared this decision in January. They will continue to perform wedding ceremonies, but couples will need to obtain the signature of a judge or justice of the peace on their licenses.

The church, which the Ashland Tidings reports is more than 90 percent straight, agreed with the leadership’s decision.

Shepherd told the Ashland Tidings that she felt she was agreeing with discrimination when she signed marriage licenses for heterosexual couples. She decided to no longer give passive approval to such discrimination.

A statement from the clergy said, “We will continue to celebrate the beautiful sacrament of marriage for all couples who wish their love and their spiritual union to be blessed by the church.”

First Congregational clergy conducted wedding ceremonies for five same-sex couples on January 10.

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