LOUISVILLE, Ky. - 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 ordination.
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 United States.
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.
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