This is a list (compiled mid 2011) of Protestant religious organizations worldwide who are accepting of LGBTQ members, including any combination of church membership, ordination to ministry, and blessing same-gender marriages or Holy Unions (in areas that do not have a legal marital contract for same-gender couples.)
For the sake of brevity in typing, I use the term Gay here to represent LGBTQ(etc) people, with no gender alliance given to the word. Please note that most religious denominations have only gotten into the discussions of “Gay Men” and “Lesbians” and rubrics tend to not cover “Bisexual Persons,” “Transgendered Persons,” “Queer,” “Questioning,” etc. Please keep that in mind in reading, that almost without exception, the regulations of the various religious organizations pertain to “homosexual men and women,” here after referred to as “Gay.”
To keep the list (relatively) short and (mostly) upbeat, I have listed organizations who DO have pro-gay policies, and have ommitted those who do not. This particular list covers Christian denominations. Non-Christian religions we will cover in another list.
The Church of England is wildly split over the topic of gay ordination and same-gender couple blessings, even as such marriages are legal in some parts of the UK. Officially, the stand of the CofE is that “homosexuality is incompatible with scripture,” yet there are currently gay (and gay married couples) in the Anglican priesthood in England. The next round of battle over homosexuality with The Anglican Communion is forthcoming, in 2012.
- The Anglican Church of Canada follows state law on the issue of gay marriage, and allows gay ordination. They had much less internal stress over the Gay Marriage discussion than many other denominations.
- The Episcopal Church in the United States of America decided (2009) to allow blessing of gay marriage, and was instrumental in bringing attention to the battle over ordination of (out) gay clergy with the 2003 ordination of the church’s first gay bishop.
- Note that in the “Worldwide Anglican Communion” there are no provinces in Africa which allow either ordination or marriage of gay people, and The Anglican Church of Kenya actively does not allow (known) homosexuals to be member of the church. All these provinces have cut ties with the US Episcopal Church, even as ECUSA continues to send aid to African provinces as part of the Millennium Development Goals program to assist third world countries.
The understanding in the Eastern Orthodox church is that all sexual activity is part of “the fallen world,” even heterosexual congress, so – oddly – they see little difference in gay sexual relations and straight sexual relations, and instead say that purity is found in celibacy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormon Church)
Their belief is that homosexual feelings are a trait that can be overcome and in themselves are not immoral. They do not believe the same about homosexual activity. Logically speaking, then, is it ok to be a gay celibate, as long as you are not sexually active?
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ordains celibate gay clergy.
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada leaves this as a local option to ordain, and to bless a gay marriage in Canada where such a marriage is legal.
- The Lutheran Church of Germany ordains gay clergy, and the church is split on the issue of gay marriage, with more church support (and acceptance) coming from the urban synods than from rural areas. The church also states that any type of persecution is unacceptable.
- The Church of Sweden blesses gay marriage and ordains gay clergy. Currently (as of 2009) The Bishop of Stockholm is a Lesbian.
- The Lutheran Church of Finland allows but doesn’t require priests to bless gay marriages.
The Mennonite Church
The church is currently split among the conferences, with no national-level policy yet. Some congregations are welcoming.
United Methodist Church
The Methodists are currently in a split over semantics in the Methodist Book of Discipline. One section states that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” yet in a section of the book previous to this, the Book of Discipline states that homosexuals – the same as heterosexuals – are “individuals with sacred worth.” This has caused heated discussions in the church as far as how to proceed with these two contradictory statements, particularly around the ordination of gay ministers.
The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC)
Acceptance and blessing of gay people, including marriage and ordination, is central to the theology of this religion.
The Moravian Church
In 1974 the Moravians set policy that gay men and women are full members of the Christian Community. They are split on ordination and marriage blessing, and there are no current discussions on adding to the policy.
Old Catholic Church
In Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands. Most certainly NOT to be confused with the Roman Catholic Church. Homosexuality is moral, and they allow ordination and marriage blessings of gay people.
Although the larger populated mainstream Pentecostal church views homosexuality as a grave sin, a group of welcoming and affirming Pentecostal denominations has given rise over the past few decades. This group of churches is gay-affirming based on research in the scriptures, going back to the original languages, and finding no evidence of condemnation of homosexuality.
- Affirming Pentecostal Church
- Covenant Network
- Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals (GAAAP)
- The Fellowship of Reconciling Pentecostals International (RPI)
Approved the ordination of gay clergy in 2010. Their policy disallows sexual relations outside marriage for ministers, elders, or key church boards, regardless of gender attraction.
- More Light Presbyterians is a growing group of churches (currently over 100 ) of welcoming and affirming congregations. The group was founded in 1980.