Additionally, the church’s clergy will not hold any wedding ceremonies off-site, though blessings, counselling and other ceremonies for either same-sex or straight couples are permitted.
Any weddings already booked before the announcement was made will still take place, but no new bookings will be taken.
The church held a vote among its congregation last month and a massive 93 per cent agreed with the resolution.
The reason is that the national denomination for the church, the United Methodist Church, does not allow its clergy to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies nor allow same-sex couples to be wed on its church property.
This is despite a groundbreaking resolution at the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church held back in 2011 that appeared to open the door to the possibility of same-sex marriages in the church.
Two years after that resolution, dozens of retired clergy members across Northern California and Nevada signed a pact to perform same-sex marriages or holy unions in their churches across the two states. An opportunity for the current policy to be changed was missed last year at the church’s 2016 quadrennial meeting, prompting the bold decision by the Austin church.
In response to the decision, the United Methodist Church’s regional body, the Rio Texas Annual Conference, said it would not be taking a position on the resolution.
There are known to be at least three gay couples who are members of the community who wished to get married at the church, but were forced to wed elsewhere.
Whatever it takes, I still believe that love wins against all odds. No matter what, because everybody deserves somebody to love!