At a Congregational Meeting on November 20, 2011, members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church voted unanimously to affirm the following statement:
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church has a longstanding tradition of supporting the rights of all citizens to equal protection under the law. We find that current North Carolina law and the proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that “Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state” discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them the rights and privileges enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. As people of faith, affirming the Christian teaching that before God all people are equal, we will no longer participate in this discrimination.
Consequently, the members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church affirm the following:
1. Marriages between same-sex and opposite-sex couples will be treated equally, and marriage ceremonies conducted at our church will reflect the spiritual nature of the solemn commitments between two people in a loving relationship.
2. To obtain legal sanction for their union, heterosexual couples may obtain their legal marital contract from another source such as a local magistrate until such time as the State of North Carolina recognizes the legal union of both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Statement to the Press by Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Petty
For over 125 years the people of this church have been a prophetic witness for human rights based on their faith conviction that all people are created in the image of God, that all people are equal in God’s kingdom, and that God’s love is radically inclusive. They believe that the purpose of the church is to welcome the stranger, to care for the poor, and to speak out against the powers that seek to marginalize and oppress people.
Their statement today on marriage equality continues their long-standing tradition of speaking out on behalf of God’s love, compassion, and justice in the world. Today, the membership of Pullen stands on the shoulders of their spiritual mothers and fathers, and they carry on with great courage the tradition of speaking prophetically on social justice issues. Their prophetic voice is a witness to all people of faith that God’s love is stronger than hate and that God’s compassion is bigger than human judgment.
This congregation is a remarkable example of what it means to be the people of God in the world for these times in which we are living. Their counter-witness to those who preach about a God whose love is exclusive and unwelcoming is nothing short of amazing grace to all who are exiled from the church simply because of whom they love and want to marry.