Anti-LGBT pastor will again officiate tonight’s mass marriage ceremony
Last year a dozen or so same-sex couples who showed up on the Bexar County Courthouse steps for the annual Valentine’s midnight marriage ceremony got good ol’ religious rebuke local pastor Joe Sullivan. “He said we were there solely to be repulsive and disgusting,” GetEqual Texas activist Julie Pousson told us back then. “And for more than five minutes he spoke these hateful words to them (same-sex couples).”
Though no official agreement exists between the county and Sullivan, the Pastor has been the sole officiant of the midnight mass marriage ceremony for years. Although activists petitioned Commissioners Court and appealed to the County Clerk’s office, asking that the county tap a pastor who wouldn’t shout down LGBT couples, Sullivan will again lead tonight’s ceremony.
“I practice forgiveness,” said Bexar County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff.
Rickhoff insisted he recently had a long talk with Sullivan, saying, “He was cautioned against making any kind of divisive language against any people in our community. That’s just not gonna be tolerated.” Rickhoff says he will personally be at tonight’s ceremony, and that court security will be on standby.
We don’t figure Sullivan is too repentant for his comments last year. After the dustup, we reached out to the good pastor to get his take, and his remarks didn’t get any less offensive. Here’s what he told us last year:
Sullivan insists he was deeply troubled by the “behavior” of the same-sex couples, claiming they were ruining the ceremony for everyone else (about 300 people in all, it appeared). “The behavior I’m taking about is they were hugging and kissing and licking each other’s faces, acting like, you know, like – I don’t even know if animals act like that. … They were very, I think, disturbing and almost animalistic there, a couple of them. They were trying to make a display of what they call, I guess, affection. It wasn’t affection to me. It was almost assault.” … “I didn’t even look at them anymore because they were embarrassing to me and a whole lot of other people. I don’t hate homosexuals, but I hate homosexuality, I don’t mind saying so. And I think I have a right to say that, don’t I? I think it’s wrong and not of God. … I didn’t ask them to leave, but I will say this: I would have been glad if they had.”