Methodists Double Down on Gay Marriage Opposition, Anti-LGBT Clergy
The church's "Traditional" plan disallows the performance of same-sex weddings.
A vote by members of the United Methodist church on Tuesday ruled that clergy may be removed from their positions if they do not openly denounce gay marriage and affirm their stance against LGBT clergy by 2021.
Church leaders say the move will almost surely lead more liberal members to leave the mainline denomination, CNN reported.
This vote for the church’s “Traditional” plan came after the church initially voted to reject an earlier proposal, known as the “One Church” plan, which would have allowed local churches to perform same-sex weddings and hire openly LGBT clergy. The first proposal was a move by the church to attempt to retain members amid widespread disagreements within its ranks about scripture and the morality of same-sex relationships.
“Many of us have members who are saying they will leave,” a member of the church’s legislative committee, Rev. Tom Berlin of Virginia, said at the General Conference vote, according to CNN. “A virus of conflict will spread.”
But the United Methodists voted to push forward the “Traditional” plan, which passed 438 to 384.
“Today, more than 800 worldwide General Conference delegates affirmed the Traditional Plan as The Way Forward for The United Methodist Church,” Bishop Scott Jones said in a statement. “This decision resolves a long-standing debate about how we can best accomplish our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
“Our views on same-sex marriage have not changed,” the statement continued. “We will continue to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer persons to our churches and affirm their sacred worth.”
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