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A Maryland bride has social media humming after she posed for a photo with her father holding a “certificate of purity” on her wedding day.

Charli Penn
Oct, 23, 2015

A Maryland bride has social media humming after she posed for a photo with her father holding a “certificate of purity” on her wedding day.

Before tying the knot with her husband Timothy, Brelyn Bowman proudly presented her father with a framed, signed certificate from her gynecologist confirming that her hymen was still in tact. The certificate cited Corinthians 6:20, a passage from the Bible that many Christian women who choose to abstain before marriage cite in making their decision. The document read: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.'”

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Both the 20-something bride and her gynecologist signed off on the document after a test on Bowman’s hymen was conducted and her doctor found it to be in tact. In addition to the Bible verse, the certificate also reiterated the promise Bowman made to God. It read: “On the 10th of May 2006, I, Brelyn Freeman, made a vow to glorify God in my body and spirit which are God's because I have been bought with a price (Jesus). I have kept this commitment and present this certificate to my father Dr Michael A. Freeman to show how I have honored God and my earthly father in my body by maintaining my purity and that my hymen is intact on this 10th day of October 2015.”

After the bride posted photos of herself posing with her father and the framed certificate to Instagram a debate followed with many commenters expressing concern that the bride went too far and shouldn’t have to prove her virginity to her dad, while Bowman’s supporters chimed in applauding her for her faith, strength and accomplishments. Others are just downright disturbed by the fact that a bride would share such intimate details of her sex life with her father on her wedding day.

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For his part, Bowman’s father tells BuzzFeed that he was surprised by the gesture and did not know that his daughter planned to present the certificate to him on her big day. “I was totally unaware of what was about to take place,” says Freeman. “During the remarks, she shared that she wanted to honor me by not allowing any man to touch her before her husband.” The pastor explained that each of his three children had promised him they would abstain until marriage and Bowman’s older sister Brittany had given him a similar document on her wedding day years ago. that all of his children said they would save themselves for marriage, with his eldest daughter Brittany presenting him with a similar document at her wedding six years ago. “It's not about what they did for me but rather what they did for themselves.” Freeman admits that his son has engaged in pre-marital sex.

While many find Bowman’s gesture heartfelt and moving others continue to criticize her decision, and in some cases even her virginity, pointing out that medically speaking an intact hymen is not physical proof of virginity

How do you feel about Bowman’s decision? Should a woman offer proof of her virginity on her wedding day? Was it TMI?

Are you just plain proud? Below, watch what our ESSENCE Live Slayed Or Shade Panelists had to say on this week’s episode.