US: Church expels volunteer over gay commitment ceremony
A Michigan church has expelled a gay volunteer, after he held a private commitment ceremony with his same-sex partner.
Bobby Glenn Brown, who was a cantor, lector and a member of the choir at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Marquette, was removed from all his positions after he held a ceremony with his partner of 31 years.
Brown said the church had always known about his sexuality, and it was not until the ceremony that he was shunned.
He said: “They told me if I wanted to worship that I could worship in the vestibule and listen, but that I would not be able to participate.
“The priest told me that because of my fake ceremony — and I reminded him that it was a commitment ceremony, and showed him the ring that I have — that due to that, that I would no longer be able to minister at St. Michaels.
“It was very emotional, and it still is. Because it was a place where I felt welcomed and loved. And I felt shunned, for lack of a different term.”
Bishop John Doerfler said in a statement that those serving in the ministry must have a “willingness to give witness to the Gospel and the Church’s teachings.”
He added: “There’s a difference, first of all, between having same sex attractions and acting on those attractions, so the commitment ceremony would indicate that it would be permissible to act on those attractions and that’s where the disconnect is from the church’s teachings.”
Brown told WLUC: “God is everywhere… if there’s anything that the Catholic church taught me, was that love and support and commitment and dedication are very important. And that God’s teachings are everywhere.”
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