FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A church in West Virginia has been voted out of its local Baptist association because its pastor says gays and lesbians should be welcomed.

The Times West Virginian reports the Fairmont Baptist Association voted to disfellow the First Baptist Church in early April.

Pastor Valerie Gittings had endorsed a local human rights ordinance protecting sexual orientation. In a February statement, she said "many progressive Christians reject outright the idea that homosexual behavior is a violation of God's law."

Gittings' church rejected her offer to resign, saying in a statement they hope the local association "will return to the Baptist fundamentals of soul liberty and local church autonomy."

Gittings says she's seeking membership with the Rochester Genesee Region of American Baptist Churches, which has taken in other disfellowed churches.