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State

Augustana College to allow same-sex ceremonies

ROCK ISLAND (AP) — Augustana College in Rock Island will now allow same-sex ceremonies on campus.

President Steven Bahls has sent out an email announcing his decision to allow same-gender ceremonies after a recommendation from campus chaplain Richard Priggie.

Priggie tells WNIJ Radio (http://bit.ly/TvIroB ) that several gay couples expressed interest in having a ceremony. He says that led him to request the president's approval.

The school is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. According to the email, the church left it up to Bahls to decide whether or not to open the campus to same-sex ceremonies.

Couples who wish to have a ceremony at the college's Ascension Chapel must be affiliated with Augustana. Illinois allows civil unions, and couples also can hold "rites of marriage" or "blessings of unions" by a pastor.

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