SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - A same-sex married couple in Mississippi said their church kicked them out because they wouldn’t end their marriage and “repent.”
The Gracewood Baptist Church in Southaven said the congregation voted unanimously to revoke their membership last week, and the couple learned they would not be welcomed back in a very unique way.
Olivia and Mary Trollinger received letters through certified mail explaining that their membership at the church was “terminated” because of their “forbidden” marriage.
Another twist – Mary told FOX13 her family not only still attends that church, but her father is a deacon.
“I was really shocked, especially since my dad being the head deacon,” she said.
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The couple married more than a year ago after meeting each other at Gracewood Baptist Church. Mary said she once served as a leader in the college ministry until being asked to leave.
Olivia told FOX13 she went to the church for less than a year.
“They are very nice; they are very friendly,” she said. “If you believe what they believe and you have the same belief system, it’s an awesome church to go to.”
The letter was written by Dr. Barry Baker, the senior pastor at Gracewood. In the letter, Baker said their homosexual relationship is “degrading to the name of Christ, defiling to his/her church family, and destructive to himself/herself.”
The letter goes on to say, in part: “I had hoped that you would repent. However, after numerous attempts by family, church members and friends to convince you of your error, you have remained resistant. In fact, you entered into a ‘marriage’ contract with Olivia on Father’s Day, no less.”
You can read the entire letter sent from the church below:
Baker said he would release a statement about the church’s decision. However, FOX13 has not received it yet.
Martavius Hampton, of the group OUT MEMPHIS, told FOX13 these types of situations have led to many physical and mental breakdowns.
“Psychological consequences for the LGBTQ community, such as depression, suicidal thoughts. So, it’s very unfortunate, very unhealthy,” Hampton said.
The couple said they respect the decision of the church to revoke their membership, but Hampton said that decision may not be a healthy one in the long-run.
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