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West Virginia church kicked out of Baptist group after pastor voiced support for LGBT rights

Pastor Valeria Gittings endorsed an ordinance protecting LGBT from discrimination

By Fabio Crispim

A West Virginia church has been voted out a Baptist group because its pastor welcomed gay and lesbian people.

The First Baptist Church of Fairmont was voted out of the Fairmont Baptist Association, which is strongly against homosexuality, last month after Pastor Valerie Gittings endorsed a local human rights ordinance, Yahoo! News reports. 

The ordinance, which will out to a vote later this year, was originally proposed in March and sets out to make discrimination based on ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation illegal regarding housing or employment.

Gitting’s endorsement put her at odds with the Fairmont Baptist Association who suggested Gitting resign from the church. 

However, Gittings’s church didn’t want her to. Instead, the church may join the Rochester Genesee Region American Baptist Churches, which she claims accepts churches like hers.  

In a statement released in February, Gittings said: “I think it’s important for people to know that many progressive Christians reject outright the idea that homosexual behaviour is a violation of God’s law.

“We contend that gay orientation is not a choice; not only should gay behaviour not be viewed as sinful, but gays are entitled to the same treatment as heterosexuals. We believe that gays should be welcome to participate fully in all areas of life, including the church.”