United Methodist Top Court Makes Clear: “Openly Homosexual and Partnered” People Cannot be Clergy, Bishops
(By John Lomperis, Juicy Ecumenism). Today the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church issued a complex, highly anticipated decision provoked by openly partnered lesbian activist Karen Oliveto of San Francisco. Last year, the rapidly declining Western Jurisdiction, home to less than three percent of United Methodists, acting unilaterally to elect her as bishop. Since being elected, Oliveto has used her prominence to demonize congregations holding to traditional United Methodist doctrine as “.”
This binding ruling clarifies several matters in United Methodist church law: Because of church standards only recognizing monogamous, heterosexual marriage and disapproving of sexual relations outside of it (Paragraphs 161B, 161F, 310.2d, and 2702.1b of the UMC’s governing Book of Discipline), which UMC clergy must vow to uphold, any “partnered homosexual … does not meet the minimum standards” for ordination, and a minister found to be “openly homosexual and partnered” cannot be made bishop. To be disciplined for violating separate provisions prohibiting the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” (Paragraphs 304.3 and 2702.1b), it can be enough to prove that a minister is in a same-sex civil marriage. This replaces an earlier church-law standard under which partnered gay clergy, in several cases, could only be removed if they answered awkward questions about their “genital sexual activity.” Some liberal UMC officials treated this as a loophole for avoiding disciplining such clergy as long as they refused to answer such questions.
However, they declined to immediately cancel Oliveto’s election, saying that normal review processes must be followed to determine if she violates these standards.
the Council invalidated a resolution from the Northeastern Jurisdiction promoting disobedience to the church’s sexuality standards and ruled that the even liberal-leaning regional conferences like New York and Northern Illinois must make “full examination” of ordination candidates to screen out those unwilling to abstain from homosexual practice, adultery, or pre-marital sex.,