The debate isn't new: should the church recognize and marry same-sex couples?
A majority of Christian denominations do not support the idea, but the United Church of Christ says it's time to stop discriminating.
Monday the UCC voted overwhelmingly to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage.
"Same-sex gender couples are just as capable of fulfilling the vocation of marriage as heterosexual couples," says Rev. John H. Thomas, President of the United Church of Christ.
Many UCC churches in the Madison area say the vote affirms what they're already practicing.
"We are grateful for what the national denomination did," says Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ Senior pastor Winton Boyd, "And hope that it signals to folks all around Madison and the country this is not a church that turns people away just as Jesus did not turn people away."
"I don't find it at all surprising," says Mt. Olive Lutheran Church's Senior pastor, Larry Thies.
More conservative denominations, like the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, say they do not support the move, according to the scriptures.
"It's probably an overwhelming majority who say until we're convinced that the Bible calls for it then we will not do it," says Rev. Thies.
He says although the congregation opposes same-sex marriage, they do not support discrimination against same-sex couples.
"Sin is sin and one person's sin is not worse than another person's sin."
Still Rev. Boyd says the definition of marriage has evolved over time.
"I take very seriously Jesus' call to love and compassion and to serve the world," says Boyd, "And I can only speak for the way we interpret the gospel, others will interpret it differently."
The UCC vote is not binding.
About 80% of the delegates voted in support of the resolution.
Of the 3 billion Christians worldwide, the United Church of Christ holds about 1.3 million members.
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