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Last year, the church made headlines for defrocking several pastors for advocating same-sex marriage, while some conservative congregations have left the main church to adhere to more traditional disciplines.

Mr. Lomperis said at the local level, the board’s decision paves the way for “funds [to be] drained from offering plates to subsidize lifestyles that churches believe and the denomination as a whole [believes] are sinful.”

“It piles on one more major thing to what’s literally tearing the religion apart,” he said.

That rending of the faith is what the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, said is the biggest concern right now within the church.

The judicial board’s ruling might seem like a huge deal, he said, but “it’s a rather small event” compared to other issues.

“Here’s the dilemma: We want everybody to have access to health care, we believe all civil rights should be respected and honored,” Mr. Renfroe said. “Now what’s more going on here is a constant progressive campaign to change how the church and culture views marriage and same sex relations.”

Mr. Pritchett said he hopes the ruling will lead to “more meaningful discussions about LGBT people who are part of the church.

“I think it points to the fact you can’t say there are no gay people in our church,” he said. “I think that for those whom this is seen as The issue of the church, it’ll provide a little bit of firepower to their claim. I don’t see this as The issue of the church, the church can never be a single issue church.”