"Jesus is always calling us away from our comfort zones"

Anita Sherrill says that while some may say loving gay people is the Christian thing to do, they also say, “They ain’t getting married in my church!”

“I mean, I’m black, and that’s just like saying, ‘Yeah, you can come in my house, but you’re not sitting down,’ ” she says.

Spearman guesses about a quarter of his parishioners support gay marriage, and at least half are opposed. His effort to get his church talking about the subject did achieve at least one thing: It led recently to the first conversation ever between Winslow Sherrill and his daughter about her sexuality.

“He said, ‘Well, girl, don’t you go getting married on me now.’ I said, ‘I’m going to get married as soon as you all ignorant people get out of my way and leave us alone, I’m gonna get married,’ ” she says and laughs.