Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples

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Church Torn by Ban on Interracial Couples

Ultimately, nine people voted for the motion and six voted against it and interracial couples were banned.

"It hurt," Harville said. "[Stella] knew she was going to face some challenges after she decided she would marry Ticha, but I didn't think it would be from our family."

Stella Harville and Chikuni did not respond to requests for comment.

Other churches in the community have condemned the decision.

Randy Johnson is the Pike County/Pikeville Area Ministerial Association president. The association is made up of about 60 churches. Johnson said that many people already have "stigmas" and "stereotypes" that they associate with Appalachia and that this decision does not accurately represent the vast majority of the community.

"This really is an anomaly. This is not in any way, shape or form the sentiment of any other local churches or church leaders," Johnson said. "It really has saddened many people. It goes against almost everyone else's philosophy and theology of what it means to be a church."

This weekend, the matter will be up for discussion again at the Sandy Valley Conference for Freewill Baptist Churches. After it is discussed, it may go before the congregation again on Sunday for a vote to repeal the decision.

Stella's father Dean Harville is very much hoping the decision is reversed and it pains him to think about what will happen if it is not.

"It was just a big blow to our family and our church. This does not belong in the church," he said. "If we don't get that solved, we'll definitely leave."

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