Methodist church in Austin halts all weddings until leadership allows same-sex marriages

A Methodist church in Austin, Texas, has decided not to hold any wedding ceremonies until its leadership allows it to change its wedding policy so that same-sex couples can also get married at the church.

(REUTERS / Mark Blinch)Couples celebrate after the ceremony for "The Celebration of Love" wedding in Toronto, June 26, 2014.

First United Methodist Church of Austin's senior pastor Taylor Fuerst said her congregation had voted in favor of halting all weddings at their house of worship until they are officially allowed to conduct same-sex marriages. She said they want the church's doctrine to be revised to make way for gay weddings, Fox 7 Austin relayed.

"Together we decided by vote to change our wedding policy so that our policy for weddings is equal for all couples," said Pastor Fuerst.

She added: "It is this huge opportunity we think for sharing Gods love with them. Gods unconditional undying love for them not in spite of who they are but because of who they are."

The doctrine of the United Methodist Church declared its support for civil laws that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. However, 93 percent of the parishioners at the Austin church voted in favor of same-sex marriage.

Pastor Fuerst said she feels that telling LGBT individuals that they were a sin was morally wrong. She called for solidarity among people of faith and advocated for allowing everyone to get married, saying God wants to take part in same-sex couples' weddings.

Despite the vote to halt all weddings temporarily, Pastor Fuerst said they will still continue with the weddings which have already been scheduled.

Meanwhile, a UMC commission which was formed last year to discern the church's position on LGBT issues is due to release its preliminary report in November. The Commission on a Way Forward held a meeting in Berlin, Germany from Sept. 18 to 20 to explore possible ideas to prevent division among the denomination when it comes to issues covering gay marriage and homosexuality, The Christian Post reported.

UMC Council of Bishops spokesperson Rev. Maidstone Mulenga told the Post that the content of the report was not yet clear as of the moment. However it may include possible means to address the issue of human sexuality in the congregation.

The Commission is set to meet again in Nashville, Tennessee, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.