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United Methodists end anti-LGBTQ policies

Started by Jessica_Rose, May 03, 2024, 12:55:03 PM

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United Methodists end anti-LGBTQ policies

Story by Michelle Boorstein (2 May 2024)

The United Methodist Church, one of the largest organized Christian groups in America, ended a slew of anti-LGBT policies this week, including a ban on gay clergy and on penalties for clergy who conduct same-sex marriages.

The moves came as votes of the UMC's General Conference, the denomination's legislative body, which normally meets every four years.

While multiple other mainline Protestant groups, including Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ, years ago ended anti-LGBTQ+ policies, the United Methodists — who historically have been more politically and regionally diverse — remained deeply divided. Tensions stayed high in recent years as advocates for liberal reforms kept pressing for change and conservatives continued to resist.

Because of the tension, nearly a quarter of the UMC's 30,000 congregations in the United States have left since 2019, primarily conservatives. That's when denominational leaders opened a window for congregations to leave with their property, according to the UMC news service. The deadline to leave was at the end of December.

On Tuesday, delegates voted overwhelmingly to delete mandatory penalties for conducting same-sex marriages and to remove the denomination's bans on considering LGBTQ candidates for ministry and on funding for gay-friendly ministries. It also ended a ban on consecrating gay people as bishops.
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