Bishop Allyson Abrams, 43, stepped down from Zion Progress Baptist Church in Detroit Friday, according to the Detroit Free Press. She told her congregation earlier in the month that she married Diana Williams in March in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal.
She served as pastor at the church for five years, according to the Michigan Chronicle.
Abrams told the Chronicle that she was not forced out, but chose to resign because she didn’t want to cause a divide within the church.
“It really hurts me because I don’t want to be the reason for the church to split, and potentially for family members to be at odds with one another,” she said. “Therefore, I felt that it was in the best interest of everyone to resign.”
The pastor, who was previously married to a man, told the Free Press she had changed her views a year ago and would not classify herself when it comes to s*xual orientation.
“I progressed in my theology and came to the point where I would love whichever came to me,” she told the paper. “I wasn’t just open to (a specific) gender, I was open to love in whatever way the Lord would bless me.”
Abrams told the Chronicle that Williams, bishop emeritus of the Imani Temple of the African-American Catholic Congregation in Washington, D.C. is her best friend and a support system.
Abrams, who has a masters in divinity and a doctorate in ministry from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, goes into detail on her website about how she reached the understanding that same-s*x marriage is aligned with Christian teachings.
“The Bible teaches that ANYONE who believes in Jesus Christ will be accepted into God’s realm,” she wrote. “You can be a child of God and living in loving committed relationships with persons of the same s*x. For the Bible could not be clearer. Everywhere the Bible confronts loving committed homos*xual relationships, they are affirmed.”
Abrams told NewsOne that she plans to lead a church in the future.
“God has called me to pastor,” she said.
According to the Free Press, she also resigned from positions at other faith-based organizations: stepping down as secretary of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and as co-editor of the Progressive National Baptist Convention’s magazine, the Baptist Progress.
Her resignation comes days after a federal judge heard arguments in a case challenging Michigan’s ban on gay marriage. A trial will begin in February.
Before her marriage and before the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in June, allowing same-s*x marriages to be recognized by the federal government, Abrams wrote a blog post for People for the American Way, arguing that it was time to “dump DOMA” and allow every person the opportunity to marry:
“We are in the 21st century, and the way I see it, it’s time to dump DOMA simply because it discriminates against those who deserve to have their relationships recognized in whatever way they choose – which should include as marriages. It’s time to dump DOMA because it hurts and humiliates those who know love and who practice showing it each and every day. It’s time to dump DOMA because it alienates and afflicts those who love with their heart and are simply in need of their rights being extended to them. It’s time to dump DOMA and celebrate the manifestation of love in every relationship. It’s time to afford every human the opportunity to marry and be respected as loving families who contribute to the wonderful world that God created and are a part of making it go around.”