United Methodist Minister Speaks about Same-Sex Marriage


Before inviting members of a campus audience to ask him questions following his speech, "Punished for Love and Commitment: Holy Unions and Gay Marriage" during the PERSPECTIVES 2001 series, Chicago United Methodist Minister Greg Dell asked everyone to be mindful of the words they used. He recounted a story about a 14-year old boy who wrote him a letter, telling Dell he was gay, and that he was contemplating suicide.

Dell said that it was because the boy heard him on public radio speaking about gay marriage and his upcoming (at that time) trial, it persuaded him to wait and see how Dell's trial turned out. Dell suggested to the audience that everyone's words made a difference. The ensuing question and answer
period was respectful, and it was a calm forum for the exchange of ideas.

One of the points Dell made was that at his church in Chicago, he is no longer breaking church rules by marrying same-sex couples. He said after the rehearsal dinner the night before a church ceremony, the couple exchanges vows, essentially marrying each other away from church property, and in the presence of, but not with the assistance of the minister. At the church ceremony the following day, Dell "affirms God's blessings" on the couple.

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