Pastor attracted to men says he married a woman because he believes in all of Scripture like Jesus

(Photo: Facebook/Allan Edwards)Allan Edwards with his wife Leeanne

A Presbyterian pastor in western Pennsylvania chose to marry a woman although he is sexually attracted to men.

Allan Edwards, the pastor of the Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church, realised his preference for the same sex in mid-1990s when he was in high school. But being deeply religious and knowing it was "in conflict with [his] faith", he decided not to act on his sexual orientation.

"I think we all have part of our desires that we choose not to act on, right?" Edwards said in the "Sunday Conversation" segment of the National Public Radio.

"So for me, it's not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am."

Edwards, who does not identify himself as gay, is wed to Leeanne Edwards. The two are expecting a child in July.

The 31-year-old pastor shared that when he was young, he did not know who to talk to about his predicament. He started talking only when he was in a Christian liberal arts college.

"My expectation was, if I started talking to other guys about this, I'm going to get ostracised and lambasted," Edwards said. "I actually had the exact opposite experience ... I actually was received with a lot of love, grace, charity: some confusion, but openness to dialogue."

Edwards also admitted that he once considered joining a denomination that accepts gay relationships, but decided against it as he could not reconcile his beliefs with homosexuality.

"I studied different methods of reading the Scripture and it all came down to this: Jesus accepts the rest of the Scripture as divined from God," he said. "So if Jesus is who he says he is, then we kind of have to believe what he believes."

Edwards met Leeanne at a Christian summer camp, but they started dating only several years later.

Talking about the moment he started falling in love with the woman who would later on become his wife, Edwards said, "I don't want to be gushy or romantic, but I just melted inside, and thought, this is someone who understands graciousness. This is someone who understands acceptance, and this is someone I want to spend as much time with as possible."

Edwards clarified that although he experiences attraction to men, it does not mean that he does not feel attracted to his wife.

"I'm not universally attracted to all men, nor am I universally attracted to all women. I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually attracted to my wife," he told the Daily Mail Online.

For her part, Leeanne was understandly curious as to how her husband's sexual orientation would affect their relationship. However, she now views it as normal, comparing it to the sexual attractions any married couple must resist, be it with the same or the opposite gender.

"There's always going to be situations where a partner is sexually attracted to someone else and isn't necessarily dealing with sexual attraction with their partner," Leeanne said.

"Everybody has this experience of wanting something else or beyond what they have," Edwards added.

"Everyone struggles with discontentment. The difference, I think, and the blessing Leeanne and I have experienced is that we came into our marriage relationship already knowing and talking about it. And I think that's a really powerful basis for intimacy."

Lifestyle