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First Gay Marriage in a United Methodist Church

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  • umcornet
    Thursday, February 19, 2004 Many S.F. churches voice support Don Lattin, Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers San Francisco Chronicle
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2004
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      Thursday, February 19, 2004
      Many S.F. churches voice support
      Don Lattin, Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers
      San Francisco Chronicle
      http://www.sfgate.com/article.cgi?
      file=/c/a/2004/02/19/MNGTF53E1P25.DTL

      City Hall workers are not the only officiants keeping busy these days
      with same-sex marriages.

      The Rev. Karen Oliveto, pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church in
      San Francisco, has provided God's blessing to eight couples who were
      issued civil marriage licenses since the great wedding march to City
      Hall began last Thursday.

      "We are in a whole new world, and the church better catch up,''
      Oliveto said. <MORE>

      ------------

      Thursday, February 19, 2004
      Gay Marriage
      Same-sex unions blessed by religious groups
      Marriages are seen as a 'good and holy thing'.
      Alison Soltau
      The San Francisco Examiner
      http://www.sfexaminer.com/templates/story.cfm?
      displaystory=1&storyname=021904n_gaymarriage

      Declaring that God is on their side, a coalition of San Francisco
      religious groups on Wednesday risked the wrath of President George
      Bush and a bevy of religious groups nationwide and supported same-sex
      marriages.

      "This is a good and holy thing. It's traditional family values at
      their best," said Rev. Karen Oliveto, pastor of the Bethany United
      Methodist Church. "God is doing a new thing in San Francisco, and we
      joyously enter into this journey for justice." <MORE>

      ------------

      See also Bethany UMC's
      See: http://www.bethanysf.org/gaymarriage.html

      -----

      NEWS ADVISORY
      Contacts: Bruce Pettit, 415-550-0932; Brudunpet@...
      Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, 415-647-8393; BethanyUMC@...

      February 15, 2004
      First Gay Marriage in a United Methodist Church

      Dan Johnson and Bill Hinson became the first gay couple ever married
      in the sanctuary of a United Methodist Church on Sunday [Feb. 15].
      The ceremony was officiated by the Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, at the
      church she has served for 12 years -- Bethany UMC in San Francisco --
      during the regular morning worship. Johnson and Hinson, partners for
      12 years and members of Bethany, said they could have chosen to be
      married in San Francisco City Hall, but wanted a church wedding.
      Marriages of gay and lesbians couples were declared legal
      in San Francisco by Mayor Gavin Newsom last week.
      END

      ---------
      NEWS ADVISORY
      Contacts:Bruce Pettit, 415-550-0932; Brudunpet@...
      Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, 415-647-8393; BethanyUMC@...

      UM Pastor Weds Gay/Lesbian Couples at SF City Hall
      San Francisco -- Feb. 13, 2004
      By Bruce Pettit

      Karen Oliveto, pastor of Bethany UMC in San Francisco, presided over
      five marriage ceremonies in San Francisco City Hall in two days as
      part of Mayor Gavin Newsom's decree that to deny gays and lesbians
      the opportunity to marry is discriminatory.

      Rev. Oliveto led vows for Michael Eaton and his partner Sean Higgins
      on Thursday [Feb. 12] and for Gloria Soliz and her partner Julie
      Williamson on Friday morning [Feb. 13]. Both couples are longtime
      attendees of Bethany. On Friday afternoon she married Connie Adachi
      and Judy Kriege, long time friends from Epworth UMC in Berkeley. On
      Saturday, Valentine's Day, she will marry at least one more couple
      from Bethany.

      All couples she is marrying in these few days are ones with whom she
      has had a previous pastoral relationship.She declined to marry other
      couples at City Hall who were simply looking for any clergy person to
      wed them.Oliveto signed all the newly minted marriage certficates,
      that had removed references to bride and groom, and merely listed
      two "applicants."

      Opponents of gay marriage filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court
      Friday to halt the proceedings with an injunction, which could be
      issued on Tuesday [Feb. 17]. No one knows the future implications.
      But none of the couples, nor Oliveto, hesitated to respond to
      Newsom's spontaneous invitation to perform the ceremonies before they
      might be stopped. The United Methodist Church officially has a ban on
      holy unions, but none on marriages -- which Newsom declared these to
      be.

      Oliveto, in her weekly e-mail message to her parishioners, wrote
      Thursday night: "Today was a historic day in our city, as more than
      150 gay and lesbian couples were legally married. As your pastor, I
      had the privilege of officiating at the marriage of Michael Eaton and
      Sean Higgins. It was one of the most moving experiences of my
      ministry. I have presided over countless holy unions, and have
      treated them with the same solemnity and respect that I would any
      straight wedding. But to be able to say the words, 'You are now
      legally wed' was a powerful thing! As politicians try to find a
      compromise in civil unions, it was glaringly evident to me today that
      there is no such thing as 'separate but equal'--the rite--and rights--
      of marriage must be extended to all loving, committed couples."

      Before Thursday's surprising invitation, Bethany was already planning
      to invite all couples to its service Sunday [Feb. 15] to renew their
      vows of love and commitment at the church in the city's Noe Valley
      neighborhood. Bethany was the fourth-declared reconciling
      congregation in the denomination 20 years ago. "I feel very proud and
      honored," said Eaton, "to have a pastor who is courageous enough to
      serve the pastoral needs of all her congregation -- no matter what
      risks that may entail." END

      -------

      Rev. Karen Oliveto, pastor of Bethany UMC, has officiated at several
      marriages for her parishioners. These are people, couples, that she
      has known pastorally.

      Then yesterday, during Sunday morning worship, she officiated what
      she believes may be the first same-sex marriage in a United Methodist
      Church.

      Yes. She feels that she is prohibited from performing holy unions,
      but has the proper authority to perform legal marriages.

      The first photo below is San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2004.
      The second photo is from the UPI photo gallery for February 15,
      2004. It was taken at Bethany UMC.

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object.cgi?
      paper=news&file=national0613EST0449.DTL&directory=/news/archive/2004/0
      2/14&type=news&object=/chronicle/pictures/2004/02/14/ba_marriage079pc.
      jpg


      http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/pub/ips/upi/s?f=UPI%
      2Fupiarchive&datestart=02%2F15%2F04&submit=search&page=2&xtag=UPI-
      upiphotos-586857&redir=detail&tr=63&row=11
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