By David Taffet – Contributing Writer

Many local gay-embracing churches welcome happy same-sex couples

Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor of Congregation Beth El Binah stands under a traditional Jewish chupah, presiding over a wedding for two men who consecrated their union after being together for 18 years.

What are the chances for your marriage being a success? After all, we’ve heard about the high divorce rate.

Turns out, those statistics apply mostly to straight people. Massachusetts, the only state with same-sex marriage equality, has the lowest overall divorce rate in the county; Vermont, the first state to legalize civil unions, has the second lowest divorce rate.

Even so, the divorce rate in Massachusetts still hovers in the mid-40 percent range … and only remains that low when gay marriages are figured into the equation. Of the 10,000 gay couples married so far in the state, only 100 divorces have been documented, a rate of one percent.

So much for gays destroying heterosexual marriage.

In Denmark, a country that has had some form of legal union for its gay and lesbian citizens since 1990, the divorce rate in the general population hovers around 50 percent. Among gays and lesbians, the rate is only 17 percent.

Why the success rate? Theories differ. Most parents don’t pressure their gay and lesbian children to get married. And most gay men haven’t accidentally gotten their boyfriends pregnant, forcing shotgun weddings.

So maybe we tend to get married for all the right reasons. And maybe we understand our partners just a little bit better than heterosexual couples since gay men are from Mars and so are their boyfriends and lesbians are from Venus and so are their girlfriends.

All of which may explain why increasingly, many faiths, denominations and individual churches are embracing the idea of same-sex weddings.

If you’re planning to have a religious wedding, most of the area’s churches with outreach to the gay and lesbian community perform a ceremony. (Exceptions are the area’s Episcopal Churches, even those with ministries to the gay and lesbian community.) Some denominations still call the service a blessing, union or commitment. Others have dropped the euphemisms and simply call it a wedding. But all LGBT-affirming houses of worship honor and respect your relationship.

Once you’ve decided that a wedding is the right thing for you, here are some churches that would welcome you and honor your relationship. (Listed are the churches with contact information, the pastors performing the service, what the church calls the service and other relevant information.)

AGAPE MCC — 4615 E. California Parkway, Fort Worth. 817-535-5002.
Rev. Teri Lubbers, Rev. Gina Purcell
Other: Require pre-service counseling.

Ascension Lutheran Church — 4230 Buckingham, Garland. 972-276-0023.
Pastor Kurt M. Friederich
Other: Blessing service for church members.

Bethany Presbyterian Church — 4523 Cedar Springs Road. 214-528-4084.
Other: called "an open, caring, inclusive, multicultural ‘More Light’ congregation."

Cathedral of Hope — 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 214-351-1901.
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Other: Contact Steve Horelica at the Cathedral for marriage information.

Celebration Community Church — 908 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth, 817-335-3222.
Pastor Carol West
Other: non-denominational Christian congregation.

Center for Spiritual Living — 4801 Spring Valley Road, Suite 115, 972-866-9988;
Rev. Petra Weldes, Senior Minister; Rev. Lee Wolak, Assistant Minister; Rev. Marsha Meghdadpour, Assistant Minister
Other: Marriage or commitment ceremony. United Church of Religious Science.

Community Unitarian Universalist Church — 2875 E. Parker Road, Plano.
Rev. Patrick D. Price
Other: The denomination supports full marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Congregation Beth El Binah — Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 2701 Reagan St. 214-521-5342, ext. 1784.
Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor
Other: Reform Jewish congregation. Reform Judaism recognizes marriage between two men or two women, as long as both partners are Jewish; however Rabbi Leynor will perform an interfaith service.

First Unitarian Church of Dallas — 4015 Normandy St.; 214-528-3990,
Commitments, holy unions.
Other: the Unitarian Church has been calling for full equality for gays and lesbians since 1970 and declared the commitment ceremony "marriage" in 1996.

Grace Fellowship in Christ Jesus — 411 S. Westmoreland St. 214-333-9779.
Pastor Tony Hoult.
Perform "holy unions."

Harvest MCC — 3916 E. McKinney St., Suite B., Denton. 940-320-6150.
Perform weddings or holy unions.

Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas — 2735 Villas Creek Road, Suite 290; 972-243-0761,
Revs. Colleen Darraugh, Steven Pace, Kay Seitz and Kaye Lee, retired.
Other: Weddings or holy unions. The church facility is available for non-members to rent.

Midway Hills Christian Church — 11001 Midway Road. 214-352-4841.
Rev. Charlotte Coyle
Other: Called a union ceremony.

New Hope Fellowship Church — 2438 Butler Road; 214-905-8082,
An independent evangelical church, it performs holy unions and commitment ceremonies.

Promise MCC — 2527 W. Colorado Blvd. 214-623-8400.
Rev. Jon Haack.
Performs weddings or holy unions.

Trinity MCC — 1846 W. Division St. Suite 305, Arlington. 817-265-5454.
Performs weddings or holy unions.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff — 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. 214-337-2429.
Called weddings.

Unity Church of Christianity — 3425 Greenville Ave. 214-826-5683;
Rev. Steve Colladay
Other: Performs holy unions, commitment ceremonies. The minister is openly gay and supported by the congregation.

White Rock Community Church — 9353 Garland Road. 214-320-0043.
Senior Pastor James P. Walker; Pastors Douglas Shaffer, Marianne Mundee, Vivian Davis, Dean Bishop.
Other: Holy union, commitment or wedding, whichever the couple prefers. The sanctuary seats 300, chapel seats 100; activities center for a reception.


Couples, straight and gay, get married for many different reasons — including, we hope, mostly for love. But we wondered how the impetus for heterosexual marriages might differ from that of same-sex couples. Here are some ideas.

Straight: We were in Vegas — what the hell?

Gay/Lesbian: We both graduated from MIT and before we left Massachusetts to do doctoral work at Stanford and lose our residency, we decided to get married in the only place in this country that allows it. Hopefully the new California domestic partner law will at least extend to us some of the rights we get there.

Straight: I got knocked up; he decided to do the right thing.

Gay/Lesbian: After two trips to Guatamala to make arrangements to adopt our son, we decided to go to Vancouver and tie the knot. For the good of our child, we feel we offer him a more stable home if we’re married — even if we have to go to another country to do it.

Straight: I’m almost 25 and sick of listening to my parents talk about grandchildren.

Gay/Lesbian: My parents always loved my partner and did everything they could to get my in-laws to attend a PFLAG meeting with them. Funny — we never really talk about our relationship with his parents, but I’ve become very close to them. Recently, I even heard them say that it was their turn to have the kids for the holidays. We really are a family. We’re deciding where we should make it official.

Straight: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. That explains the 50 percent divorce rate.

Gay/Lesbian: Men are from Mars, men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, women are from Venus. That explains Massachusetts’ 1 percent divorce rate for gays and lesbians.

Straight: But I love him.

Gay/Lesbian: We’ve been together 15 years and we still get puzzled looks from hotel clerks and hospital admit nurses. It’s time.

— David Taffet

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 9, 2008.

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