Two lesbian pastors have solidified their union in church. Pastor Twanna
Gause,dressed in an off-white wedding gown and veil ,stepped out of a
limousine amid the whir of cameras outside the New Vision Full Gospel
Baptist Church in East Orange, N.J.
Her partner, Pastor Vanessa Brown, who stood waiting at the altar in a cream-colored long coat .
Thy were led by Bishops Levi Richards and Eugene Gathers, both of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
“She’s our spiritual daughter,” Bishop Richards said.
Both men walked Ms. Gause down the aisle, a role she had initially hoped
would be accepted by her father, the Rev. Sam Gause Sr., a Pentecostal
minister who lives in Atlanta.
But Mr. Gause, citing “differences in theological beliefs,” refused his daughter’s invitation.
“My father would not come here because he does not believe in same-sex
marriage,” Ms. Gause said. “He told me the devil tricked me into this,
and that if we had been married in biblical times, we would have been
stoned to death.”
When contacted by the New York Times, he said
“Twanna very well knows I’m not for that kind of lifestyle,” he said by
phone in a calm and stern tone several days after the wedding.
“I believe that God wanted us to procreate through a natural process,
and by no means am I happy about this because it is unnatural,” he said.
“I look at homosexuality as a mental disorder. If I start to tell you
that I am an elephant, and start to behave as an elephant, that’s my
choice, I choose to become an elephant. But you would probably choose to
call a mental institution.”
Mr. Gause, long affiliated with the Center of Hope Church of God in
Christ in Riverdale, Ga., said he had no immediate plans to contact his
daughter.He was also disappointed her mother,his ex-wife attended the
“I will talk to her at some point, I suppose, if she calls me, but I
will not initiate the call,” he said. “I do have some words for her that
she needs to hear. I’m not going to condemn her or judge her because I
don’t have that authority, but judgment has already been established by
When asked about Mr. Gause’s absence at the wedding reception, an
elegant affair at il Tulipano in Cedar Grove, N.J., Bishop Richards said
simply: “God has a way of honoring us when others won’t.”
Mary Ellen Brown, did not mince words when talking about her ex-husband’s refusal to attend.
“He has no right to judge them,” she said. “I tried to get him to come
here tonight but it was a losing battle. He asked me why I would even
bother showing up, and I said to him, ‘All you need to remember is that
Twanna is my daughter, and I love her, and I have her back no matter
what she does, and that’s why I’ll be there.’”
On how their love story began,they met as choir girls about three decades ago in New Jersey.
“I was like, ‘Oh wow, what in the world, who’s that, she’s beautiful,’”
recalled Ms. Gause, who was then a 16-year-old living in Paterson, N.J.
“I immediately felt this kind of strange, warm feeling wash over me, and
though I had not yet spoken a word to her, I could see myself loving
this woman forever. My head was just spinning.”
Ms. Brown, then 18 and living in New York, was not struck by the same thunderbolt.
“I was oblivious as to how Twanna was feeling,” Ms. Brown said. “I
looked at her as this adorable, skinny little girl who I initially
thought was so much younger than me, and I had no idea that she liked me
in any way other than as a friend.”
They kept in touch, and Ms. Gause moved back to Paterson in 1994, and
became engaged to a man there, breaking it off in less than a year and
returning to Atlanta, where she toured with a gospel choir and worked as
They began official dating in 2006 .