Aug 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm
ST. CLOUD (KNSI) - Same-sex marriage is now part of Minnesota state law. While some faith-based communities - such as the St. Cloud Catholic Diocese - have spoken out in opposition to holding marriages in their churches, there are others who are embracing them.
Charlotte Stephens is the president of the St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. She says the church's theology, which pulls principles from a wide range of world religions, naturally supports the concept of same-sex marriage.
"It's a religion that doesn't have a creed," Stephens explains. "We promote the inherent worth of every person, and believe in justice, equity and compassion in human relations. So it just makes sense that we would promote the ability for loving couples to marry."
Stephens says their support extends beyond Thursday's law change - the Unitarian church has been ordaining ministers who are in same-sex relationships for decades.
They've also been involved in the cause to legalize same-sex marriage by officially opposing last year's push for an amendment to ban same sex marriage in Minnesota's constitution.
"Our church locally took a position in opposition to the marriage amendment," she says. "Earlier this year, we also joined with Minnesotans United For All Families and signed a resolution in support of the Freedom to Marry Act."
Stephens says the church has conducted focus groups related to same-sex marriage, and firmly believe extending the right to marry to same them will have a positive impact on more than just the couples themselves.
"We looked at same-sex marriage with the idea of whether it's beneficial for families, from a number of different perspectives" she says. "It was so obvious - it just makes sense for children to grow up in families where parents who love each other have the opportunity to be married."
Stephens says they've been receiving requests from area couples who wish to have their weddings at the Unitarian Church, and are in the process of scheduling those weddings.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Cloud has a membership base of around 70 people.
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