A year ago when Carlos and I helped create the Will of the People Fund — a group that raised money for the non-attorney costs of the case of Katie Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin-Bradacs, who were suing South Carolina to have their same-sex marriage recognized in the state — we thought we’d have a long battle on our hands.
South Carolina, after all. And because of that we chose to fly to the far far northwest corner of the country when we decided to get married; well, truth be told, we also went to Washington because it’s where my Dad lives and he wanted to be there when his son said ‘I do.’
But we were stunned when, just a couple of weeks after we were married, suddenly marriage equality was legal in South Carolina. It happened that fast for us; we thought we’d have to watch the state come kicking and screaming into equality only when, and if, the Supremes made their ruling.
So, every so often South Carolina, a Bible Thumping Red State, can do the right thing, no matter how shocking. And now, it’s happened again.
While most Christian churches in this country are still vehemently opposed to The Gays and same-sex marriage, this week the First Baptist Church of Greenville … Baptist Church … South Carolina … has decided to allow not just gay unions, but also the ordination of gay and transgender ministers.
Again … Baptists … South Carolina.
The 184-year-old church, home of the very first Southern Baptist Convention, reached this decision after speaking to, and listening to, its congregation, and asking them one central question:
"Can you worship and live with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] community in the church?"
And the answer was ‘Yes,’ with each member present giving a public affirmation.
"What I heard was, 'We need to do the right thing, regardless of what anybody thinks or says about us. There were a few people who said, 'Are they going to start calling us the gay church in town?" — Senior Minister Jim Dant
Dant added that members of his church acknowledged that "being open and welcoming to all people is part of the essential nature of our community of faith." And the minister also revealed that members of the congregation who did not agree with the decision have decided to stay with the church, even in light of the church allowing openly gay ministers to serve.
God is love, and all that, you know.