Female pastor resigns after marrying woman

A Christian leader resigned Friday from a Detroit church after disclosing that she married a woman.

Bishop Allyson Nelson Abrams stepped down from Zion Progress Baptist Church. The church’s first female pastor told congregants Oct. 6 that she married a pastor affiliated with a Washington, D.C., church, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams Photo: NewsOne
Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams
Photo: NewsOne

Abrams married Diana Williams, a bishop emeritus with Washington’s Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation, which has separated from the Catholic Church. They wed in Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal.

Abrams, who once was married to a man, said leaving was necessary to prevent further division in her church. She said some urged her to stay but others had learned about her marriage before the announcement and were making an issue out of it.

“I know how important it is for congregations to stay together,” she told the newspaper. “I didn’t want to split the church any further over this issue.”

She said she’s considering joining two other denominations but declined to identify them. The Birmingham, Ala., native was ordained in 2001.

The resignation came two days after a federal judge in Detroit said he needs to hear from experts before settling the fate of a 2004 Michigan constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage as being only between a man and a woman. A lawsuit was brought by two Detroit-area nurses in a lesbian relationship.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of a federal law that restricted the rights of gay couples.


Associated Press

The Associated Press is an American multinational nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City.

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