List of Christian denominations affirming LGBT people

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In 2003, Gene Robinson was the first non-celibate openly gay person ordained as a bishop in documented Christian history.
The LGBT flag at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston indicates that the church welcomes LGBT-identifying people.

Various Christian denominations do not consider homosexuality or transgender identity to be sins. These include entire denominations, as well as individual churches and congregations. Some are composed mainly of non-LGBT members and also have specific programs to welcome LGBT people, while others are composed mainly of LGBT members. Additionally, some denominations which are not LGBT-affirming include LGBT member-organized groups which are not officially sanctioned by the denominations themselves. There are also ecumenical or parachurch programmes that explicitly outreach to LGBT people but do not identify with any particular church, tradition, or denomination.

History[edit]

The history of Christianity and homosexuality has been much debated.[1] The Hebrew Bible and its traditional interpretations in Judaism and Christianity have historically affirmed and endorsed a patriarchal and heteronormative approach towards human sexuality,[2][3] favouring exclusively penetrative vaginal intercourse between men and women within the boundaries of marriage over all other forms of human sexual activity,[2][3] including autoeroticism, masturbation, oral sex, non-penetrative and non-heterosexual sexual intercourse (all of which have been labeled as "sodomy" at various times),[4] believing and teaching that such behaviors are forbidden due to their sinfulness,[2][3] and further compared to or derived from the behavior of the alleged residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.[2][5][6][7][8] However, the status of LGBT people in early Christianity is debated.[1][9][10][11][12]

Today, various Christian denominations are accepting of homosexuality and transgender identity and inclusive of homosexual and transgender people, such as the United Church of Christ and the Metropolitan Community Church. Formed in 1991, The Evangelical Network is a network of evangelical churches, ministries and Christian Workers that are a part of the LGBT community. The Evangelical Network holds an annual conference and provides education, ministerial support, and networking capabilities.[13]

In 1946, Archbishop George Hyde of the Eucharistic Catholic Communion (a small denomination not in union with the Roman Catholic Church) celebrated mass for gay men in Atlanta. In 1956, the Church of ONE Brotherhood was founded in Los Angeles by a gay-rights activist.[14] In 1962, a Congregationalist pastor began an overt pastoral ministry to gay people in New York City. The first gay and transgender-specific denomination, as opposed to individual congregations, was the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1968.[14]

Some congregations are merely non-discriminatory and LGBT-affirming while others are specifically oriented toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons.[14] Some local congregations, especially those designated as "Welcoming churches" in the Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Methodist, Episcopal, and Brethren/Mennonite denominations, may consist of a majority of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members.[14]

While Unitarian Universalism is no longer explicitly a Christian religion, it does have Judeo-Christian roots. Both the Unitarian Universalist Association[15] and the Canadian Unitarian Council[16] have officially affirmed LGBT people and have openly advocated for gay rights.

Denominations[edit]

Africa and Asia[edit]

  • Aglipayan Church - officially known as Philippine Independent Church or Iglesia Filipina Independiente. The church has adopted an official and binding position of inclusion and full acceptance of LGBT individuals and organizations since 2017 after the question of inclusiveness was raised in an official leadership meeting by a gay member of the church in 2014. Its youth organization wing has also repeatedly elected presidents, vice presidents, and executives who belong to the Filipino LGBT youth sector.[17]
  • Anglican Church of Korea[18] NOTE: The Anglican church has some clergy and congregations that support LGBT rights.
  • Anglican Church of Southern Africa[19] NOTE: The Anglican church defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but does allow for the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.[20] Bishop Mervyn Castle of False Bay was openly gay and celibate.[21] Also, for lay people, "Anglican bishops from across southern Africa have resolved that gay and lesbian partners who enter same-sex civil unions under South African law should be welcomed into congregations as full members of the church."[22][19] The Diocese of Saldanha Bay has proposed the blessing of same-sex unions with the bishop's support.[23]
  • Church of South India[24][25] NOTE: The CSI opened ordination to transgender persons, has ministries specifically for transgender rights and some clergy support gay rights. The CSI is among the Anglican churches that "are open to changing Church doctrine on marriage in order to allow for same-sex unions" according to the BBC.[26]
  • Evangelical Church of India[citation needed]
  • Members Church of God International (Known as Ang Dating Daan as their Presiding Minister Bro. Eliseo Soriano is a Prominent Member of LGBT)[citation needed]
  • United Church of Christ in Japan[27]
  • United Church of Christ in the Philippines[28]
  • Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (Southern Synod)[29]
  • Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (NGK) NOTE: Each congregation may determine its own decision on gay marriage and gay ministers.[30] However, in November 2016 the Extraordinary Synod formally defined marriage as "a commitment between one man and one woman" and gay sex as a sin. Congregations are allowed to deny employment to married gays, but also allowed to define their own position. However, on 8 March 2019 a Pretoria high court judgment overturned the Dutch Reformed Church's decision not to recognise same-sex unions within the church. The Church decided not to appeal the decision. [1][96]
  • Methodist Church of Southern Africa[31] NOTE: The church "accepts same-sex relationships (as long as such relationships are not...marriage)".
  • Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa[32] NOTE: Each minister may exercise his or her conscience and support same-sex unions

North America[edit]

Anglican[edit]

United Church of Christ's motto which expresses its support for LGBT rights
Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. indicating its support for LGBT rights
Metropolitan Community Church, a LGBT-affirming Christian church in New York City
Grace Gospel Chapel, in Seattle

Baptist[edit]

Catholic[edit]

Lutheran[edit]

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: the ELCA's document A Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust [45] notes "While Lutherans hold various convictions regarding lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships, this church is united on many critical issues. It opposes all forms of verbal or physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation. It supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public services. It has called upon congregations and members to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families and to advocate for their legal protection."
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada[46]

Methodist[edit]

  • United Methodist Church's General Conference, voted forward a conservative "Traditional plan", defeating the more liberal "One Church plan." No discretion is allowed to ordain gay, lesbian, or bisexual clergy in same-gender relationships, or marry gay couples.[47] There is no prohibition on the ordination of transgender clergy and the Judicial Council ruled, in 2007, that transgender clergy can remain ordained.[48][49] The United Methodist News Service reiterated that there is no rule against transgender clergy.[50] The vote on the "Traditional Plan" was 53 percent in favor to 47 opposed.[51] The Judicial Council reviewed the plan and upheld 10 petitions while declaring 7 petitions, approximately 40 percent of the plan, unconstitutional.[52][53][54] UMC's Book of Discipline Article 4. [Inclusiveness of the Church] includes this statement: "All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services... " and later, within part 304.4: "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."[55] Previously, Annual Conferences had affirmed LGBT clergy and relationships through resolutions.[56][57][58][59][60] The South Carolina Annual Conference had passed a resolution supporting transgender rights.[61][62] The Western Jurisdiction elected the denomination's first openly and partnered lesbian bishop in 2016.[63] The North Central Jurisdiction considered an openly gay nominee for bishop although not elected.[64] Additionally, the Northeastern Jurisdiction passed a resolution supporting the option of allowing same-sex marriages.[65] On May 7, 2018, the Council of Bishops in the United Methodist Church, had proposed allowing individual pastors and regional church bodies to decide whether to ordain LGBT clergy and perform same-sex weddings, which came to be known as the One Church plan. Their proposal was rejected by the February 26, 2019 General Conference vote.[66] The highest level of the United Methodist Church will now strengthen punishments for 1) pastors who are non-celibate gay people, or 2) pastors who perform same-sex weddings. Nevertheless, the Western Jurisdiction, the German Central Conference, and other annual conferences within other jurisdictions have announced that they will not enforce the Traditional Plan and some of these have continued to ordain LGBTQ clergy.[67][68][69][70][71][72]
  • United Church of Canada shares both the Methodist and Reform traditions. In 1925, Canadian Methodist Church, Canada, Congregationalists and some churches of the Presbyterian Church in Canada united to form the United Church of Canada. Within the United Church of Canada, congregations decide if they are Affirming or if they perform same sex marriages. Over 150 United Church congregations are either Affirming or are in the process of becoming Affirming congregations.

Pentecostal[edit]

Reformed[edit]

Other[edit]

Europe[edit]

Latin America[edit]

Australia[edit]

  • Affirming congregations within the Anglican Church of Australia[161][162] NOTE: The Diocese of Perth, and other bodies, have voted to support same-sex relationships[163] The Diocese of Gippsland appointed an openly and partnered gay priest.[164] Though the Anglican Church of Australia does not have an official policy on homosexuality,[165] in the Seventeenth Session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia in 2017, the Anglican Church of Australia passed a motion recognising "that the doctrine of our church, in line with traditional Christian teaching, is that marriage is an exclusive and lifelong union of a man and a woman, and further, recognises that this has been the subject of several General Synod resolutions over the past fifteen years".[166] In 2018, the Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, released an ad clerum reiterating the current position that clergy cannot perform a same-sex marriage.[167][168]
  • Uniting Church in Australia[169][170]
  • United Ecumenical Catholic Church in Australia[171]
  • Metropolitan Community Church[81]
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)[143]
  • Baptist Church of Australia - some Baptist congregations in Australia
  • Universal Church of Love, Peace & Equality Inc [172]

New Zealand[edit]

  • United Ecumenical Catholic Church in Christchurch, New Zealand[citation needed]
  • Liberal Catholic Church in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Anglican Church in New Zealand[173] NOTE: As of 2018, clergy may bless a same-sex union.[174] In 2014, the Anglican church voted to start a process toward allowing the blessing of same-sex relationships. The Dunedin Diocese already offers a "Liturgy for the Blessing of a Relationship" irrespective of gender.[175] The Anglican province has approved of allowing clergy "'to recognise in public worship' a same-gender civil union or state marriage of members of their faith community" with the bishop's permission.[176]
  • Metropolitan Community Church in New Zealand[177]
  • Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa New Zealand[178] NOTE: Individual congregations may be affirming, but the denomination is not affirming.
  • Methodist Church in New Zealand
  • Uniting Congregations in New Zealand NOTE: Individual congregations may be affirming, but the denomination is not affirming.[citation needed]
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in New Zealand[citation needed]
  • Unitarian Church in New Zealand
  • Spiritualist Church in New Zealand
  • Community of Christ (The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in Auckland, and Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Open Table Ministries in Auckland, New Zealand
  • Some Baptist Churches - Ponsonby Baptist Church, and Cityside Baptist Church (Mt Eden), both in Auckland, New Zealand.[citation needed]
  • Auckland Rainbow Community Church[179]
  • Diverse Church New Zealand

Individual churches and congregations[edit]

Denomination-sanctioned programmes[edit]

The following denominations have LGBT-welcoming or affirming programmes, though not all churches within the denomination are necessarily members of the LGBT programme.[citation needed]

Unofficial programmes[edit]

Programmes not affiliated with any particular denomination[edit]

Defunct denominations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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