Christians who support gays and lesbians in their congregations insist that the message of Christ is of divine love and reconciliation, not condemnation.
In some denominations, there are individual priests and pastors who have presided over ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples, a religious act of blessing for couples wishing to express the sanctity of their commitment within the community of the Christian church.
By 2013, several mainline denominations, including the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ, had recognized the legitimacy of such unions, while others were still struggling with the issue.
Since attitudes and values are often profoundly shaped by religious commitments, the churches have had to examine rigorously and prayerfully what Christian attitudes toward gays and lesbians are and what they should be.
One issue has been the Bible and how to understand it.