Church says loophole allows it to perform gay marriages
The Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, a predominantly (85 percent) homosexual congregation in a predominantly homosexual denomination, says it has found a way to perform legal homosexual marriages. The Ontario Marriage Act allows couples to marry one of two ways: the traditional obtaining of a marriage license from City Hall marriage by a justice of the peace or pastor, or though marriage banns: publishing the names of the couple on three consecutive Sundays preceding a marriage. One thing the Ontario Marriage Act doesn't do is say "man" or "woman"—just "person." The church says that's a big enough loophole. "Until now we have felt restricted from acting on our beliefs by what we thought was a legitimate impediment regarding same-sex weddings," says Brent Hawkes, pastor of the church. "Being called by God to marry same-sex couples, we recently sought legal advice, and as a result we have changed our position on the legality of same-sex marriages." Hawkes says he hopes to beat Dutch churches in being the first to perform the world's first legal gay marriage. But, he tells The Toronto Star, he's had to turn away "scores" of homosexual couples from the U.S. and Canada who want him to marry them—he'll only marry members of his church. Barbara McDowall and Gail Donnelly—whose union has already been blessed by the church—will be the first. Federal officials have responded that the marriage still won't be legal (if you follow that last link, you'll have to scroll down to the fourth item).

Meanwhile, U.S. Methodists make steps toward gay unions in Chicago ... South of the Canadian border, United Methodists in Chicago and North Carolina are also looking for loopholes ...

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