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United Methodist Church lifts same-sex marriage ban

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The United Methodist Church voted 692-51 to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy in its churches.
Methodist same-sex marriage

The United Methodist Church will allow same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy after its members voted to lift two decades-old bans.

The church has around 10 million members worldwide, including a large following in the U.S.

More than 700 church delegates attended a conference in the U.S. this week. A the conference 93% voted in favour of repealing anti-LGBT Methodist policies.

Methodists

The 2020 U.S. Religious Census categorises the United Methodist Church (UMC) as a ‘Mainline Protestant’ faith.

Mainline Protestants “typically emphasise a proactive view on issues of social and economic justice and a tolerance of varied individual beliefs,” according to the Association of Religion Data Archives.

The UMC has previously banned LGBTQ+ people from joining its clergy. It defines clergy as “ministers, deacons, elders, and local pastors under appointment of a bishop.”

Methodists allow same-sex marriage

UMC clergy gathered for the church’s annual conference in the U.S. state of North Carolina this week.

Delegates of the United Methodist Church voted 692-51 to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy in its churches.

The reforms mean a 52-year-old clause in church documents stating: “the practice of homosexuality… is incompatible with Christian teaching,” will be removed.

However, a church or clergyperson will not be punished if they don’t agree to host a same-sex wedding.

“There’s still work to do… Just because we change legislation doesn’t mean that we change hearts and minds. But I’m committed to that long-term work.”

Associate pastor of East Lake United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, Rev. H.N. Gibson

Inclusivity

The conference also addressed concerns of racial discrimination within the church.

It came after a group of Asian-American Methodists cited increasing discrimination during the pandemic.

A resolution to condemn “racial-ethnic discrimination and gender-based violence against Asian Americans” was approved at the conference.

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