United Methodist Church Rescinds Gay Clergy Ban

United Methodist Church Rescinds Gay Clergy Ban

The United Methodist Church has reversed a ban that prohibited LGBTQ people from being ordained and practicing as clergy. The church, which has more than 12 million members globally, removed the 40-year-old declaration which declared “the practice of homosexuality…incompatible with Christian teaching,” according to AP News. 

The United Methodist church is a Christian denomination that practices Protestant tradition. The vote to reverse the ban along with other discussions on the revision of the language around marriage and LGBTQ+ people took place at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church which occurred over 11-days in Charlotte, N.C. The ban was rescinded with an overwhelming vote of 523-161, which officially altered a section of the church’s Revised Social Principles. 

Delegates at the conference also approved a new definition of marriage “as a covenant between ‘two people of faith’ while recognizing the couple may or may not involve a man and a woman.” What’s more, the delegation voted to end another ban that  prohibits the church from using funds to “promote acceptance of homosexuality.”

According to The New York Times, the United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the nation, following the Southern Baptist Convention. However, in recent years Methodists overall presence in the United States has seen a steep decline and is projected to continue to drop. 

Rev. Chet Jechura, a provisional elder serving in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church told the NYT the previous restrictions on gay clergy prevented him from being ordained. “Today I am weeping tears of joy, and profound existential relief.” Jechura went on to say it was “privilege to be ordained into this renewal movement at such an historic moment.”

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