Minister protests same-sex union ban with a halt to all weddings
AMHERST, Mass. --An Episcopal minister will stop performing all wedding ceremonies to protest the denomination's prohibition of same-sex unions.
"We are called to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives," said the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, rector of Grace Episcopal Church.
Several members of the congregation say they support Hirschfeld's move, which he announced in his Sunday sermon. Others said they were concerned that that the move might add to the polarization of an issue that has already divided Episcopals.
Erica Winter, of Northampton, said working for social justice often involves giving up something.
"I'm so proud to be a part of this," Nina Scott, a congregant from Amherst, said. "It's a step that needs to be taken."
Two priest associates at Grace Church, the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and the Rev. Burton Whiteside, also said they won't perform marriages.
"I am convinced that when gays and lesbians are baptized, they become full members of the body of Christ," said Bullitt-Jonas. "They are not partial members or conditional members or second-class members."