Stances of Faiths on LGBTQ+ Issues: Church of God in Christ

Produced by the HRC Foundation

The Church of God in Christ, a largely African-American denomination with 5.5 million members, has traditionally established no formal policy about the issues that affect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

But, as in other Pentecostal denominations, it has long been clear that the church condemns homosexuality. And in 2004, church leaders articulated that condemnation in a rare statement against marriage equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual couples.

It has, to date, remained silent on transgender members.

On Marriage Equality

Marriage, according to the Church of God in Christ, is for procreation only. Ignoring the fact that millions of gay and lesbian people are, in fact, raising children through a variety of means, the church asserts that only heterosexual couples should be entitled to marry. Its April 2004 statement, “Marriage: A Proclamation to the Church of God in Christ Worldwide,” states:

Marriage between male and female provide the structure for conceiving and raising children. Compliance with this command of God is a physical and biological impossibility in same-sex unions. We, therefore, believe that only marriages between a male and female, as ordained by God, is essential for the procreation of mankind.”

The statement, moreover, goes on to condemn same-sex relations as sinful. It reads:

“We believe that the homosexual practices of same-sex couples are in violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior. We believe that these unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body.”

Finally, the statement concludes, the church will “never” change its position, no matter how these relationships are recognized by society:

“Therefore, in spite of the progressive normalization of alternative lifestyles and the growing legal acceptance of same-sex unions, we declare our opposition to any deviation from traditional marriages of male and female. Notwithstanding the rulings of the court systems of the land in support of same-sex unions, we resolve that the Church of God in Christ stand resolutely firm and never allow the sanctioning of same-sex marriages by its clergy, nor [sic] recognize the legitimacy of such unions.”

Resources for LGBTQ+ African-American Christians

  • Operation Rebirth offers a list of inclusive churches nationwide that are said to “preach God's love to and for all people” regardless of race, creed, color, gender, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation.

Headquarters Location
If you would like to communicate with the Church of God in Christ, here is their mailing address:

Church of God in Christ, Inc.
938 Mason St.
Memphis, TN 38126

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.