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Local churches preparing to officiate same-sex marriages

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(WJBK) -

Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage could be overturned in less than two weeks, when the case is once again in federal court.

Meanwhile, others in the religious community are busy signing up pastors to preside over same sex weddings.

"We're welcoming of all people because we've been there," Father Charles Blanchard tells Fox 2's Amy Lange.

Father Blanchard studied to be a Roman Catholic priest, but as a gay man, he instead says mass at Christ of the Good Shepherd in Gerndale, an independent Catholic church. He is one of the nearly 50 clergy members in Michigan who have agreed to marry same sex couples.

Randy Block is director of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network. The organization has signed on six rabbis, five independent catholic priests and a number of clergy from other denominations to perform same sex marriages, should the ban be overturned when the case goes before Judge Bernard Friedman, once again, on Oct. 16th.

"It seemed like a perfect way to witness what we really value which is treating people with respect and dignity," Block says.

"This has been a wonderful opportunity to find out that there are more allies that we ever believed existed out there," Rev. Beth Rakestraw of Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church says.

The activists are preparing for any outcome in court, even an appeal if the ban is overturned.

"I understand that the window of opportunity may or may not happen but certainly if that window opens up - it's important to me that I be a part of it," Rev. Rakestraw says.

But, on the other side, many churches are not on board with same-sex marriage. The archdiocese did not return our call seeking comment, but the Michigan Catholic Conference did file this in federal court in support of the current law:

"Michigan has a legitimate interest in securing and preserving the benefits of marriage for our society and future generations of children. Its decision to achieve those interests by limiting marriage to a man and woman is rational."

But should that law be overturned, this Roman Catholic - the father of a gay son - hopes his church someday will follow suit.

"I think it's a matter of justice. It's a matter of love. God is about love," Tom Nelson says.

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