By Heather Hahn Feb. 11, 2015 | MAPUTO, Mozambique United Methodist News UMC.org
The United Methodist Church could have openly gay clergy and clergy could officiate at same-sex marriages if a proposal affirmed by a denomination-wide leadership body prevails.
The Connectional Table plans to draft legislation that members hope can be “a third way” in church’s long debate over homosexuality.
The body on Feb. 10 overwhelmingly affirmed a proposal to remove prohibitive language that makes it a chargeable offense under church law for clergy to be “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” or to officiate at same-sex weddings.
The action was not a formal vote, but the reported results of two hours of small-group discussions. The Connectional Table will take up proposed legislative language for an actual vote when it meets in May in Nashville, Tennessee.
he question of whether to perform a same-sex marriage up to individual clergy, just as the Book of Discipline — the denomination’s law book — now allows clergy to decide which couples to wed. Clergy would not be required to bless same-sex unions.
Conferences also would continue to determine who to ordain as authorized by the denomination’s constitution, but would have the option of ordaining openly gay individuals.
Bottom line: If this proposal prevails, clergy would not risk church trials or the loss of their credentials for officiating at same-gender weddings or coming out as being gay.
NOTE: The Connectional Table’s process
The Connectional Table is a United Methodist body of clergy and lay people from around the world that acts as a sort of church council for the denomination, coordinating its mission, ministry and resources.
To read the complete article: Church Body Propose More Open Stance on Homosexuality
Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service. Contact her at (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.