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Church figures strongly oppose gay marriage, but welcome gays to worship

Updated: Wednesday, May 21 2014, 09:07 PM EDT

By: Maria Miller

ALTOONA, Pa. -- A day after a federal judge ruled Pennsylvania's ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he will not appeal the decision.

Corbett tweeted a statement Wednesday that said in part, "As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. My duties as governor require that I follow the laws as interpreted by the courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal."

But of course there are a lot of people who believe legalizing same sex marriage is the wrong decision.

Most Christian church figures do not agree as they standby biblical scripture in that homosexuality is a sin. But they want to make it very clear that they're not against people and will still welcome anyone who comes through their doors.

"A man and a woman coming together in marriage really forms the basic unit of society," said Gary Dull, pastor of the Faith Baptist Church in Altoona.

Like many of Christian faith he strongly opposes Judge Jones' ruling Tuesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, making gay marriage legal in Pennsylvania

"For two men or two women to come together in marriage violates the truth of God's word and violates what marriage is all about from our perspective," Dull said.

The Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown agrees. Its spokesperson sent 6 News a statement Tuesday saying, "It's not a matter of discriminating against individuals of any kind but rather a statement of defense of traditional marriage which we see as a strong foundation for family."

Dull told 6 News there are a few gay couples who attend his services on a regular basis and even participate in Bible study and church functions. He said they will always be welcome to attend, but will never be married under his guidance.

"These doors are open to anybody who wishes to come and we would even develop a relationship with them, but we still recognize that from God's word, it's not the way that pleases the Lord," Dull said.

And because of that, Dull said he'll always stand by his faith, scripture and decades-old legislation defines marriage strictly between a man and a woman.  And as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and organization made up of 2,500 pastors of all denominations across the state, he vows to fight Tuesday's decision

"We are not anti-people. We're very pro-people," Dull said. "We just believe we got the responsibility to communicate what God's word says about every issue of life."

6 News stopped by the Blair County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon to see how many gay couples had been in to apply for marriage licenses. The prothonotary said her office had received quite a few calls from gay couples with questions, but said only one couple had been in to fill out an application.  By law there is a three-day wait until marriage licenses can be approved and distributed and because of the holiday weekend, gay couples will have to wait a little longer, at least until Tuesday.

Church figures strongly oppose gay marriage, but welcome gays to worship

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times