Churches get ready for gay marriage

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Churches in Minnesota are preparing for the state's first gay marriage ceremonies, in the wake of a new law that allows same-sex unions, which takes effect Aug. 1, the Star Tribune reports.

Of course, not all churches will perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, but the ones that choose to do so are making some adjustments, the Star Tribune reports.

Some of the changes are small, including language shifts. No longer will officiants say, “I now pronounce you man and wife," for example, the newspaper reports.

The overall change could take some getting used to for many worshipers, observers say. “This often involves a process of education, since not all members of these congregations are equally comfortable with same-sex marriage,” John Green, a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio who has written extensively about politics and religion, tells the Star Tribune.

Minnesota lawmakers approved same-sex marriages after much debate this year, and after same-sex marriage advocates spent $2 million in a lobbying effort. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill into law in May. Since then, county recorders around the state have been reworking the language on marriage license applications to make them gender neutral.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak plans to officiate as many as 40 ceremonies beginning at midnight on Aug. 1.

One church that has been an active supporter of gay marriage, Pilgrims United Church of Christ in Maple Grove, has been the subject of vandalism twice in recent months.

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