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Pastor’s stance on homosexuality triggers consequences

February 20, 2018

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia pastor’s support for homosexuality could get her church voted out of local and state Baptist groups.

Pastor Valerie Gittings at First Baptist Church of Fairmont has publicly endorsed a local human rights ordinance that includes sexual orientation under its protections, the Times West Virginian reported .

That position put her at odds with the Fairmont Baptist Association. Its executive board voted Monday to recommend dis-fellowship of the church from the association, and thereby from the West Virginia Baptist Convention.

The division began during a Sept. 12 Fairmont City Council meeting where a human rights commission ordinance was being discussed. Gittings spoke in favor of the ordinance, which would include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Gittings said she was unaware at the time that a convention resolution prohibits pastors from taking a different stance from the convention on homosexuality.

After the association discussed the matter in November, one recommendation was that Gittings resign and no action be taken against the church because it was her personal stance and not that of the church as a whole.

Gittings said she offered to resign, but her church didn’t want her to.

She said First Baptist may join the Rochester Genesee Region American Baptist Churches, which she said accepts churches like hers. The Fairmont Baptist Association’s full board will meet soon to vote on the matter, she said.

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Information from: Times West Virginian, http://www.timeswv.com

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