Athens County Pastors Unite for Same-Sex Marriage

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Five Athens-area pastors are offering their services as wedding officiants to same sex-couples in preparation for a Supreme Court decision which could bring marriage equality to Ohio.

Although there is no certainty on how the court will rule, the pastors are preparing to help same-sex couples take full advantage of the opportunity.

Rev. Rob Martin, pastor of Athens First Presbyterian Church; Rev. Lynn Miller, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church; Rev. Lynda Smith, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens; Rev. Deborah Woolsey, priest-in-charge of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd; and Rev. Evan Young, campus minister at United Campus Ministry are the faith leaders inviting same-sex couples wanting a religious ceremony that has a legal standing to begin planning now.

“Our institutions have a long tradition of supporting same-sex couples and honoring their relationships,” said Rev. Young. “As faith leaders in the only county in Ohio that voted against Amendment 1 [the amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage], we felt it was important to stand with the LGBTQ community in this time of anticipating momentous change,” he added.

Pastor of the Athens First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Rob Martin, claims same-sex marriage is something he’s believed in for awhile now.

“Our denomination, The Presbyterian Church, voted this year to change the language, in what we call our book of order which has marriage within it. The language was changed to marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman, but it allows room for other folks who might want to enter into that same covenant,” Rev. Martin said.

All of the pastors are willing to have conversations with people that may be concerned and troubled by the change.

“Coming here from a community that was perhaps more conservative on social issues like this, I have some experience listening to these kinds of concerns and responding in ways that are helpful and that build community,” Rev. Woolsey said.

Same-sex couples who wish to be married as soon as it is legalized are encouraged to contact these pastors. Contact information is as follows: Rev. Martin- or (740) 593-3351; Rev. Miller- or (740) 593-3144; Rev. Smith- or (740) 592-2083; Rev. Woolsey- or (740) 593-6877; Rev. Young- or (740) 593-7301.