List of Christian denominations affirming LGBT people

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Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal Church in the United States) at D.C. Gay Pride (2014)
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.[1] 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.[2] The Hebrew Bible and its traditional interpretations in Judaism and Christianity have historically affirmed and endorsed a patriarchal and heteronormative approach towards human sexuality;[3][4] throughout the majority of Christian history, most Christian theologians and denominations have considered homosexual behavior as immoral or sinful.[5][6] However, a number of theological scholars have made biblical case arguments for LGBTQ inclusion.[7] Today, various Christian denominations are accepting of homosexuality and transgender identity and inclusive of homosexual and transgender people, such as the Episcopal Church,[8] the Presbyterian Church,[9] 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.[10]

in the 19th century, John Church (minister) was considered to be the first minister to openly perform same sex marriages in his English church.[11] 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.[12] In 1956, the Church of ONE Brotherhood was founded in Los Angeles by a gay-rights activist.[13] In 1962, a Congregationalist pastor began an overt pastoral ministry to gay people in New York City. In 1976, the Episcopal Church officially became fully LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming.[14] In 1979, Allen Bennett became the first openly gay Rabbi.[15]

While Unitarian Universalism is no longer explicitly a Christian religion, it does have Judeo-Christian roots. Both the Unitarian Universalist Association[16] and the Canadian Unitarian Council[17] have officially affirmed LGBT people and have openly advocated for gay rights.

Denominations[edit]

International[edit]

Africa[edit]

Asia[edit]

North America[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, an LGBT-affirming Christian church in New York City
Grace Gospel Chapel, in Seattle

Anglican[edit]

Baptist[edit]

Neutral positions[edit]

Some Baptist denominations in the United States do not have official beliefs about marriage in a confession of faith and invoke congregationalism to leave the choice to each church to decide.[36]

Affirming positions[edit]

Catholic (independent)[edit]

Lutheran[edit]

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: the ELCA's document A Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust [49] 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[50]

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.[51] There is no prohibition on the ordination of transgender clergy and the Judicial Council ruled, in 2007, that transgender clergy can remain ordained.[52][53] The United Methodist News Service reiterated that there is no rule against transgender clergy.[54] The vote on the "Traditional Plan" was 53 percent in favor to 47 opposed.[55] The Judicial Council reviewed the plan and upheld 10 petitions while declaring 7 petitions, approximately 40 percent of the plan, unconstitutional.[56][57][58] 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."[59] Previously, Annual Conferences had affirmed LGBT clergy and relationships through resolutions.[60][61][62][63][64] The South Carolina Annual Conference had passed a resolution supporting transgender rights.[65][66] The Western Jurisdiction elected the denomination's first openly and partnered lesbian bishop in 2016.[67] The North Central Jurisdiction considered an openly gay nominee for bishop although not elected.[68] The Northeastern Jurisdiction passed a resolution supporting the option of allowing same-sex marriages.[69] 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.[70] 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,[71][72][73][74][75][76] for example Methodist lesbian bishop Karen Oliveto and Methodist gay bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth.
  • 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.[77] Within the United Church of Canada, congregations decide if they are Affirming or if they perform same sex marriages. In 1988, the General Council came to the decision that sexual orientation would no longer be a barrier to membership or candidacy for ministry. In 1992, the Affirming Ministry Program was developed by Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble to "provide congregations with the opportunity for education, discernment and commitment regarding becoming radically inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in all aspects of the life and work of their ministry." As of June 2023, 310 United Church ministries and communities of faith are Affirming Ministries, and 189 are in the process of becoming Affirming Ministries. In 2022, there were 292 Affirming Ministries, making up just over 10% of UCC communities of faith.[78]

Pentecostal[edit]

Presbyterian[edit]

Reformed[edit]

  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)[80]
  • Reformed Church in America[81] NOTE: Gay pastors may serve congregations if they were ordained in another denomination; some member churches allow gay marriage.
  • United Church of Christ[82]
  • United Church of Canada Each individual congregation decides for itself whether or not to be affirming or to solemnize same sex marriages. Over 150 United Church congregations are either Affirming or are in the process of becoming Affirming congregations. There are a number of other church bodies (some Presbyteries and Conferences) that have been designated as Affirming. (see #Methodist)

Other[edit]

Scene during the church service at Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco, an lgbti-supportive church
Scene during a church service at Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco

Europe[edit]

Latin America[edit]

Australia[edit]

  • Affirming congregations within the Anglican Church of Australia[175][176] NOTE: The Diocese of Perth, and other bodies, have voted to support same-sex relationships[177] The Diocese of Gippsland appointed an openly and partnered gay priest.[178] Though the Anglican Church of Australia does not have an official policy on homosexuality,[179] 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".[180] 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.[181]
  • Uniting Church in Australia[182][183]
  • United Ecumenical Catholic Church in Australia[184]
  • Metropolitan Community Church[90]
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)[157]
  • Baptist Church of Australia - some Baptist congregations in Australia
  • Universal Church of Love, Peace & Equality Inc [185]

New Zealand[edit]

  • Anglican Church in New Zealand[186] NOTE: As of 2018, clergy may bless a same-sex union.[187] 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.[188] 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.[189]
  • Metropolitan Community Church in New Zealand[190]
  • Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa New Zealand[191] 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]
  • Community of Christ (The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in Auckland, and Christchurch, New Zealand. Not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  • 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[192]

Individual churches and congregations (US)[edit]

Alabama[edit]

Alaska[edit]

Arizona[edit]

Arkansas[edit]

California[edit]

Connecticut[edit]

Delaware[edit]

Florida[edit]

Hawaii[edit]

  • St. Aidan of Lindisfarne Celtic Church Maui, Hawaii[212]

Idaho[edit]

Illinois[edit]

Indiana[edit]

Kansas[edit]

Kentucky[edit]

Minnesota[edit]

Mississippi[edit]

Missouri[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

North Dakota[edit]

Ohio[edit]

Pennsylvania[edit]

Tennessee[edit]

Texas[edit]

Washington[edit]

Wisconsin[edit]

Individual churches and congregations (international)[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]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hagia Sophia Gnostic Church is a parish of the Ecclesia Gnostica Church
  2. ^ Part of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]