Methodist Church Reaffirms Ban on Gay Marriage

Patrick Kissel, Reporter

The United Methodist Church’s General Conference of 864 delegates from across the world, met for a special session on February 23 to February 26. At the session, they voted to reaffirm a section of the Book of Discipline which forbids LGBT clergy and same sex marriage, according to a press release by the United Methodist Church.

A special session was called by the church’s Council of Bishops to attempt and resolve the question of sexuality in the church. The decision to hold the special conference came after the issue caused deep rifts in the church, and almost divided the Methodist Church at the regular quadrennial meeting in 2016. The session was held in St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome, according to the Washington Post.

“I fundamentally disagree with the Methodist church’s opposition to gay marriage. Gay marriage is fundamentally no different from heterosexual marriage and should be treated as such,” sophomore Morgan Timpe said.

The body picked between three plans proposed at the conference to address what has become an increasingly divisive issue, and that for years has threatened to divide the third largest church the U.S. The proposal selected by the delegates, known as the traditional plan, would reaffirm the line in the Book of Discipline, and increase enforcement of the policy.

“I think [the Methodist Church] should [vote against the traditional plan] because why deny people the right to be happy and to love each other. It makes no sense,” junior Brianna Aarstad said.

The two other proposals were entitled the one church plan, and the three church plan. The one church plan would have removed the ban in the Book of Discipline, and leave it up to regional bishops and individual pastors whether or not to ordain same sex marriages. The three church plan would create three branches of the Methodist Church, with one branch maintaining the ban, the second branch leaving it to regional bishops and the third would require pastors to ordain same sex marriages.

“It’s just people getting married. I don’t see what the big deal is,” junior Emma Brauss said.

Four hundred thirty eight delegates voted in the affirmative on the traditional plan, with 384 delegates voting in the negative, according to CNN. This vote has lead to fear among some in the church that the schism that has formed over the issue could lead to the church dividing into multiple denominations. This would not be the first time the church divided, though, as the church divided in the 19th century over the issue of slavery, only reuniting in the 1980’s, according to

“Churches in support of gay marriage should split from the Methodist church simply because, by remaining silent and unresponsive to discriminatory practices, one encourages them,” Timpe said.