A small church in Pike County, Ky., has voted not to accept interracial couples as members and not to let them participate in worship services.
"That the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage. Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals," reads the resolution, passed 9-6 by the church's board last month.
"All are welcome to our public worship services. This recommendation is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve."
The decision, which is drawing widespread criticism in the community, came after a young white woman brought her black fiance to a church service in June, reports the Kentucky Herald-Leader.
Stella Harville and Ticha Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, performed a hymn together at the church, which draws about 40 attendees every Sunday.
The pastor at the time, Melvin Thompson, who also proposed the controversial motion, told Harville's father Dean, a regular church-goer, that Stella was not allowed to bring her fiance again.
"I do not believe in interracial marriages, and I do not believe this will give our church a black eye at all," Thompson told the blog Kentucky News.
Dean called the motion "nothing but the old Devil working."
"They're the people who are supposed to comfort me in times like these," Stella said.