Clergy from several Lexington churches said Monday they look forward to marrying gay and lesbian couples, but others plan to follow stricter biblical guidelines and reject any requests to perform same-sex marriages.
David Eversole, an administrator with Tates Creek Christian Church, said most in the congregation were worried by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Friday to legalize same-sex marriage and will support the church's decision to not perform them. The church's bylaws define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Eversole said.
"Basically everyone in my Sunday school class ... is very concerned about the direction of our country," Eversole said. "I don't expect we have many people in our congregation who disagree with our bylaws."
Clays Mill Baptist pastor Jeff Fugate said he only marries people who are part of his congregation and who are "biblically qualified for marriage."
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Fugate said he has not heard from any same-sex couples in his congregation who wish to be married, and does not expect any blowback from his church for its policy against same-sex marriage.
The Catholic Diocese of Lexington also will not perform same-sex marriages.
"Our definition of marriage has never been determined by any civil authority," said Bishop John Stowe. "It comes from scripture and tradition, and the Supreme Court ruling doesn't change that."
On the other side of the spectrum is the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, which takes its teachings from a number of world religions.
Gretchen Woods, the Universalist church's interim minister, married her same-sex partner in California in 2008, but she and her partner had their first "service of union" in a Universalist church in 1991.
Woods said she and her congregation are excited to perform same-sex marriages, and already have requests for ceremonies.
"It means the world to us," Woods said. "This is about home, this is about family, maybe in a different way than some people think about family, but lesbian, bisexual (and) transgender people do feel like they're in a family and they want that to be acknowledged in their home state."
Many other Lexington churches will also marry same-sex couples, but usually each couple must be approved by a governing body or priest.
For example, each couple who wishes to marry at the Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church must be approved by the Board of Elders. The National Presbyterian Church allowed each parish to decide whether or not it will marry same-sex couples.
Woody Berry, pastor of Maxwell Street Presbyterian, said his church would be glad to marry same-sex couples who want to be married under the union of God.
"We have always been willing to bless same-sex unions," Berry said.
Central Christian Church, which is a part of the Disciples of Christ denomination, will likely perform same-sex marriages, but must wait for their administrative board to approve it. The board will meet July 29.
Central Christian's welcome statement is encompassing of all people and will likely not fall short when it comes to marriage, said senior minister David Shirey.
"My sense is that the offering of same-sex marriages will be an outgrowth of that welcome," Shirey said.
The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington will allow each priest to decide whether or not to marry same-sex couples, but is supportive of the Supreme Court's ruling.
"I rejoice the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality," said Episcopal Bishop Douglas Hahn. "I believe it affirms the equality and dignity before God of all lifelong committed relationships."
Lexington Episcopal Diocese communications director Kay Collier McLaughlin said the church has been discussing same-sex marriage for years.
"Most of our churches have gay and lesbian members, so the hope is that this will feel increasingly natural," McLaughlin said. "Each church ... has been engaged in conversation about where they are."
Rabbi David Wirtschafter of the Temple Adath Israel could not be reached for comment Monday, but Wirtschafter signed an op-ed in Monday's paper praising the Supreme Court's ruling.