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Ferndale — Celebrations and condemnation took center stage in pulpits across churches around metro Detroit as pastors punctuated their sermons Sunday with reaction to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage.

At the Metropolitan Community Church Detroit, which has a large number of gay and lesbian members, the atmosphere was one of high emotions and celebration as couples walked into church hand and hand. Many of them did so as legally-married spouses.

At the church when the Rev. Roland Stringfellow, the congregation's senior pastor, proclaimed that marriage is "between one man and one woman," a parishioner said "really?.....not anymore!"

Then Stringfellow said " No more gay marriage...there is marriage for everybody."

The rainbow gay pride flag flanked the church's lectern and a multicolored set of stain glass graced its pulpit as a banner read "Whatever is Born of God overcomes the world."

"What a week this has been for the President and progressives," said Stringfellow Sunday to packed pews of couples and families. All wore generous smiles as historic gay marriage was made the centerpiece of the Sunday worship services.

“This love has come from God,” Stringfellow told the churchgoers Sunday. He added that same-sex couples take their commitment to one another “seriously” and deserve to have the same rights and “the same kind of dignity” as other couples.

Stringfellow and his associate pastor Rev. Deb Dysert spoke about the next step for same-gender couples as gay and lesbians in the wake of the high-court’s ruling.

"Where do we go from here? Our work is not over," said Stringfellow. "Our work has been revved into high gear."

The pastors said the LGBTQ community has to work to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Eddie Neal and his fiance Philip Price agreed.

Neal said Friday's ruling "liberated" him. He wants to work with churches in the African-American community for greater acceptance of gays and lesbians.

Neal and Price plan to marry soon.

Curtis Lipscomb, the executive director of LGBT Detroit, said Stringfellow’s message was on point.

“There continues to be a lot of issues that plague us,” said Lipscomb. “The fight must go on.”

At other churches, the reaction to the ruling was expected to be mixed with some pastors saying they will preach about condemnation for gays and lesbians and that their lifestyle is sin.

At the Strictly Biblical Bible-Teaching Ministries on Detroit’s westside, Pastor Emery Moss Jr., told his congregation that the lifestyle of lesbians and gays “is a sin.”

“We love the people. The only problem we have is the sin ...the lifestyle,” said Moss. He said he’s advising his church members to deal with now-legally married gays and lesbians “in an intelligent way.”

“We acknowledge there can be some unjust treatment (of gays and lesbians) and I don’t feel they should be fired from their jobs, but they shouldn’t stop the mouth of the church,” said Moss. “If you come against them it has become (interpreted as) hate speech.”

Moss said he will begin a series of sermons Sunday on “How to be a Christian in a gay world.”

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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