A Grace family home in rural Virginia is celebrating a “victory” for its gay-friendly policy, but the family church is still struggling to make its faith more welcoming to gay and lesbian people.
In a blog post on Friday, the Grace Family Church of West Virginia said it is now accepting gays and lesbians as full members.
The policy also says gays and lesbian couples can now marry and hold civil unions.
The post by Grace Family President Dr. David Bowers came as the state was poised to become the 14th in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
The state is one of the few places in the U.S. that doesn’t have a full-fledged gay-rights law.
But with a large gay-liberation movement in the states, and support from the White House and the church, the West Virginia community is pushing back against a wave of hate crimes that have plagued the state.
Bowers said the church will continue to offer its support to gay couples and their families.
“We know that it is a challenge for all of us to continue to be a welcoming and welcoming church for those who have been victimized in the past,” he wrote.
Bower also said that despite the recent changes, there is a long way to go.
“The real challenge is not just the coming year but how we can move forward in the coming years,” he said.
Gay-rights groups say West Virginia is a prime example of how the religious right is trying to restrict religious freedom.
The Rev. William Barber, a civil rights activist and founder of the group West Virginia Family Coalition, said the state is “a national disgrace.”
The West Virginia Supreme Court recently ruled that the state’s law banning same-gender marriage violates the U,N.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.