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Gay Pastor Will Officiate Same Sex Weddings Despite UMC Penalties

Mark Thompson
Laura Michels
Pastor Mark Thompson

An openly gay United Methodist minister in Lansing says he’s going to facilitate gay weddings.

Pastor Mark Thompson

This after the church approved tougher penalties for clergy who do so.

But Pastor Mark Thompson’s anguish over his personal life will continue.

61-year-old Mark Thompson is a minister at Central United Methodist Church in Lansing. He’s says he’s been out of the closet for about 10 years. But church rules prohibit him from being in a same sex relationship.

“I long to be in a deep love relationship with a man and I just have to ignore those feelings. It's very difficult," he said.

The UMC recently approved tougher penalties for pastors who facilitate gay marriages or engage in a same sex relationships.

Thompson says he’s going to perform same gender ceremonies anyway.

“I need to do that because I need to be able to treat  people with equity. I do that in every other part of my life," he said. 

Thompson says he’s still choosing to not be in a relationship in an effort to try to change the debate inside the church.

“When you don’t have that (a relationship) then what slowly happens,  then your spirit  starts to shut down. You just start to feel the sadness, you just start to feel the loneliness and it works away at you," he said. 

Thompson plans to retire next year and explore a relationship then.

The Judicial Council of the UMC will vote on the constitutionality of the new plan in April.

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