MacMurray College changes policy on allowing same-sex marriage at chapel

By Gary Scott on November 13, 2015 at 7:29am

MacMurray College in Jacksonville has made a change in policy regarding use of its chapel for weddings.

An email was sent out this week to students, faculty and staff at the school by Ted Roth, the director of office communications and marketing after a same-sex couple was apparently turned down after requesting to use the Annie Merner Chapel to get married.

In the email, Roth explained that the college, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, had a policy put in place around the time in 2011 when Illinois legalized civil unions that went along with the church’s policy of not allowing same-sex marriages to be conducted in their buildings.

But Roth says the college’s board of directors this week agreed with new president Dr. Mark Tierno’s request to reverse the policy. Roth described the previous policy as “antiquated” in the email.

“The board members who responded were unanimous in saying that [prohibiting] same-sex marriages in the chapels doesn’t follow the values of MacMurray College, and so they reversed that position,” says Roth. “And they did it fairly quickly, within a day when they were asked. They sent out an email request to the executive committee, and they all got back within that day.”

Roth says the chapel is a popular place for MacMurray alumni to hold weddings, and notes it’s non-denominational. He says MacMurray College has a history of supporting and welcoming people with a variety of sexual orientations.

“When I came to Jacksonville 15 years ago, they had a gay and lesbian student group, which was pretty uncommon back then. And, that’s continued, that sort of sense of all the people on campus are part of our community,” he says.

We reached out to Illinois College officials regarding any similar policy in place for Rammelkamp Chapel, but did not get an immediate response.