Local Minister Vows to Perform Same-Sex Union
Posted April 20, 1999
CHAPEL HILL — A Methodist minister from North Carolina, who made national headlines by marrying two women is at it again. This time, the Reverend Jimmy Creech is presiding over a service for two gay men living in the Triangle.
Taking a stand for what you believe in can come at a big price. Last year, Creech was tried by the Methodist Conference after uniting two women in Nebraska. He was acquitted by one vote.
He plans to do it again in the Triangle. This time, Creech could lose his job. But he says he is willing to take the risk.
Larry Ellis is uniting with Jim Raymer, his partner of four years.
"You fall in love and you decide this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with," says Ellis.
The couple wants to commit their lives to one another in a Christian ceremony. They will wear matching tuxedos and exchange rings in front of 100 guests.
"We want to really have a demonstration of our love for one another, in front of God, in front of our community," says Raymer.
Creech will co-officiate the ceremony with Jill Edens, pastor of the United Church of Chapel Hill.
Edens' church supports same-sex unions; Creech's church, theMethodist Church, does not.
The Methodist Church's position is "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches."
"A bigotry that is comparable to racism," says Creech, who makes no secret about how he views the policy. "It does not have good theological, ethical biblical foundation at all."
But many church leaders maintain the policydoesreflect biblical teachings.
Creech narrowly escaped conviction in a church trial for performing a same-sex union last year. He says he is willing to put his job on the line again because he believes it is the right thing to do.
"I'm not going to act with fear about how they might respond. It's just important to me to try to be faithful and to have integrity as a pastor," says Creech.
Ellis and Raymer say they have no fear of controversy. Their biggest concern is the pre-wedding jitters
The Methodist Conference will not comment on the upcoming wedding or Creech's involvement until it takes place.
Last month, Chicago pastor Greg Dell was suspended from the Methodist Church after performing a same-sex union.
The couple's marriage will not be legally recognized in North Carolina.