“Oliveto’s election is historic in that she is the first openly gay bishop of the UMC. Oliveto faced several complaints over her election violating the Book of Discipline, which states that noncelibate homosexuals cannot be ordained.”
The United Methodist Church’s highest court has ruled that a regional body violated the denomination’s rules when they elected an openly lesbian clergywoman as bishop and she can be removed from her position.
In a 6–3 decision released Friday, the United Methodist Judicial Council decided that the Western Jurisdiction’s election of Karen Oliveto to the position of bishop violated church law.
“It is not lawful for the college of bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop,” read the decision, as reported by the United Methodist News Service.
“Under the long-standing principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law.”
UMNS noted that the Judicial Coucil’s decision did not immediately remove Oliveto from her position, but it did call for the process to take place.
“However, the bishop ‘remains in good standing,’ the Judicial Council said in Decision 1341, until an administrative or judicial process is completed,” reported UMNS.
“Pending the supervisory response process to review episcopal membership and office, the college of bishops, in consultation with the committee on episcopacy, ‘may suspend the bishop from all episcopal responsibilities for a period not to exceed 60 days.'”
Last July, the UMC Western Jurisdiction unanimously elected Oliveto to be bishop of the UMC Mountain Sky Area, a regional body that includes congregations located in Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and one church in Idaho.
Oliveto’s election is historic in that she is the first openly gay bishop of the UMC. Oliveto faced several complaints over her election violating the Book of Discipline, which states that noncelibate homosexuals cannot be ordained.
Charmaine Robledo, communications director for the Mountain Sky Area, told The Christian Post last August that “it was expected that someone would ask the Judicial Council to consider her election.”
Read another article on this topic: Methodist High Court Rejects First Openly Gay Bishop’s Consecration