Two female pastors who met as choir girls some 30 years ago recently got married at the New Vision Full Gospel Baptist Church in East Orange, New Jersey, to the chagrin of one bride's Pentecostal father who firmly declares she has been tricked by the devil.
"My father would not come here because he does not believe in same-sex marriage," Pastor Twanna Gause told The New York Times about her Aug. 24 nuptials to her best friend, Pastor Vanessa Brown. "He told me the devil tricked me into this, and that if we had been married in biblical times, we would have been stoned to death."
The Rev. Sam Gause Sr., who is affiliated with the Center of Hope Church of God in Christ in Riverdale, Georgia, was invited to his daughter's wedding to Brown but he declined due to "differences in theological beliefs," The New York Times said.
"Twanna very well knows I'm not for that kind of lifestyle," Rev. Gause, who divorced his daughter's mother in 1996, told the publication after her wedding to Brown.
"I believe that God wanted us to procreate through a natural process, and by no means am I happy about this because it is unnatural," he said. "I look at homosexuality as a mental disorder. If I start to tell you that I am an elephant, and start to behave as an elephant, that's my choice, I choose to become an elephant. But you would probably choose to call a mental institution."
Twanna, 45, is listed as the pastor of worship and liturgy at Rivers of Living Water Ministries located on Manhattan's Upper West Side neighborhood. Her new wife is listed as the church's senior pastor. In a video on the church's homepage, Vanessa, 46, explains that their church is predominantly LGBT.
Both Twanna and her wife grew up in Christian homes and were both briefly involved in relationships with men before embarking on their relationship.
In 2008, however, years after they started seeing each other romantically, Twanna and Vanessa revealed the news to her father while at a religious conference in Atlanta.
"My father didn't take it too well," Twanna said.
"He slammed the Bible down on a table and said to us, 'Did you all read this book?'" Twanna said. "He was furious."
Rev. Gause told The New York Times that he went to the hotel where the conference was being held "to confront their pastor over theological beliefs, but he never showed."
And since that time he has not changed his position on same-sex marriage.
"We all have a conscience," he said. "It is through that conscience that we hear from our Creator as to what is right and what is wrong, and if God did not want us to procreate, then why didn't He just create billions of people with no gender at all? He must have had a reason for doing what He did."
He argued that Twanna's mother who attended the wedding blundered in showing her support and blamed her for not giving her daughter enough love.
"It was a mistake that her mother even went to the wedding. Had she rejected outright that kind of behavior, and become the lovable person that my daughter was in search of, perhaps Twanna would have had a different idea about that kind of thing, and not gone elsewhere to seek love," he said.
The Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, pointed to Corinthians, however, on the day of the pastors' wedding.
"Love is patient, love is kind. ... Love hopes and endures all things," Flunder read as nearly 200-guests approved of the scripture.