Kansas minister who officiated mass same-sex wedding getting death threats

Rev. Jackie Carter

Rev. Jackie Carter

People cheer as about 20 couples marry in a same-sex marriage ceremony on the steps of the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., Monday, Nov.17, 2014.Mike Hutmacher, AP

Rev. Jackie Carter of the First Metropolitan Community Church was one of several officiates of a mass same-sex wedding ceremony on the steps of the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., Monday, Nov.17, 2014.

WICHITA, Kan. — A Wichita, Kan., pastor who performs same-sex weddings is growing increasingly frightened by death threats directed at her and members of her church, especially since she officiated at a ceremony for 15 same-sex couples last month on the Sedgwick County Courthouse steps.

The Rev. Jackie Carter said First Metropolitan Community Church has been receiving at least one phone call a day threatening to kill her or to perform acts against her congregation, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Rev. Jackie Carter

Rev. Jackie Carter

She said the threats were coming even before a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages in November. Prior to the group ceremony Nov. 17, two callers threatened to chop off her head and put it on a stake, she said.

“Monday was probably the most scary time for me,” Carter said. “The phone rang and I went to answer the phone and it was just somebody heavy breathing on it. Then somebody rang the doorbell and then somebody started throwing rocks at the windows.”

Her church has instructed people to leave the building in pairs for safety, especially at night. Carter said she has reported some of the threats to the Wichita Police Department, but the department’s ability to investigate is limited because the callers have been anonymous and no phone numbers show up on the church’s caller ID.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer called the threats unacceptable and said he would discuss the matter with police to get more details.

“It’s our responsibility and law enforcement’s responsibility to protect everybody’s rights and no one, no one, should ever be threatened on anything, whether it be death threats or any other type of physical threats,” Brewer said.

Terry Fox, a conservative Wichita pastor who has led activism against same-sex marriage, called the threats against Carter despicable.

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“Anybody who does something like that, there’s nothing Christian about threatening someone bodily damage or something like that. In fact it’s about as un-Christian as anything can be,” Fox said.

He said he also has received death threats in the past because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Kerry Wilks, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the state’s ban and a member of Carter’s church, said most of the people she talks to underestimate the prejudice that gay and lesbian people face regularly.

“I think sometimes people get lulled into complacency and think, ‘No, that’s too far off, that won’t happen,'” Wilks said.

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