DES MOINES, Iowa -- A pastor from Parchment, Michigan has been sleeping outside every night for the past three months.
United Methodist elder Rev. Mike Tupper is sleeping in a tent in Des Moines as part of a protest. He calls it a “tent witness,” which symbolizes the discrimination in the official policy of the United Methodist Church regarding LGBT people.
“My little bit of discomfort doesn’t compare to what they have to deal with day in and day out,” Tupper said.
Tupper has been sleeping out in the elements across the country for 96 days now due to complaints he and eight other pastors have received after he officiated a same-sex marriage.
His daughter asked him to officiate her and her partner's wedding. After two complaints against him, he wants the United Methodist Church to change its view on the LGBTQ community.
“I’m not a big prophet. I’ve never been much of an advocate,” Tupper said. “I’ve been a quiet, unassuming, small-town pastor all my life, for 35 years. She’s encouraged me to step up.”
Tupper will sleep outside for another 88 days when the general conference for the United Methodist Church takes place in Portland.