North Carolina Church Asks Lesbian Parishioner to Divorce or Leave

A North Carolina church has taken the prerogative to kick out a lesbian parishioner following the passage of the state’s horrid House Bill 2, which overturned and banned all local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances. In the name of religious freedom, the First Baptist Church has “prayerfully asked” Kelly Toney via a letter to either renounce her homosexuality and divorce her wife, or else they “will have no choice but to take appropriate and prayerful action to address the standing of your fellowship with this Body.”

Now, let’s pause. These people have not just asked Toney to leave the church — they, members of her faith community, have also clearly been talking about Toney and her family behind her back for years, now. While, by the way, she hasn’t been able to attend church because of work conflicts. No one reached out to her to voice their concerns until after the passage of HB2 — not about her membership or attendance at the church, not about her marriage. So how real and pressing and motivated-by-belief could this letter be? It doesn’t matter if you say you’re “prayerful” when you ask someone to please stop being a lesbian because her lesbian-vibes are getting all over your gossipy self-righteousness, it’s still a basically uncompassionate thing to do.

Several members of the church have spoken out on social media against the church’s letter to Toney, and she, obviously, has left the church. I’d say that it seems like she’s better off without them, but she describes receiving nothing but love and support from many members when she came out. Being ostracized from your community is painful no matter what, but being ostracized from a community that loves you because their leadership doesn’t is its own special kind of hurt. This illustrates exactly why HB2 is such a bad idea: No one is coming out ahead in Bostic.



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