LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An eastern Louisville Baptist church has
ordained an openly gay man as a minister with unanimous support
from church members.
Highland Baptist Church on Sunday ordained Maurice "Bojangles"
Blanchard, a local gay-rights advocate who started the church's gay
and lesbian outreach group last year.
Church Pastor Joe Phelps says ordaining Blanchard was "new
territory" for the church but in April it moved to support his
The Fairness Campaign, a Louisville-based gay rights
organization, hailed Blanchard's ordination as one of only about
two dozen at Baptist churches in the U.S.
Highland Baptist, which is not a member of the Southern Baptist
Convention, says on its website it is "open to anyone who
professes Christ as Savior."
Blanchard is studying ministry at the Louisville Seminary.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)