The Committee on Ministry & Higher Education rejected sub-committee work that would have recommended another historic shift in the United Methodist Church. Submitted legislation sought to allow each Annual Conference to decide whether or not to allow same sex unions in their churches and by their pastors. The measure was defeated by a written ballot vote of 34-44.
Amy Lippoldt of Kansas West spoke against the petition despite her previous support of other legislation that seeks to make the church more inclusive of homosexuals. She worried about the implications of annual conferences making decisions about moral witness and ethical stances. “The United Methodist Church must remain united,” she said.
David Edgar from West Ohio spoke in favor of the legislation. “We face a big problem around the issue of homosexuality. Right now the churches in Africa cannot change because of strong cultural views. Changing a stance would result in the loss of many members. Right now, especially in the North East [United States], we are experiencing a similar problem but in reverse. They will lose young members and more if we don’t [allow for same sex unions].”
The legislation will surely be debated by the body of General Conference as it moves into general plenary sessions next week.
Rev. Mike Baughman is a United Methodist elder, social media coach and special contributor to the United Methodist Reporter.