United Methodists Face Uncertainty After Delegates Reject Plan Allowing Same-Sex Marriage, LGBT Clergy

United Methodist delegates voted to approve the Traditional Plan, 438-384, after rejecting the progressive One Church Plan, which would have lifted the church’s prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy.

The delegates voted Tuesday morning 449-374 to reject that progressive plan, known as the One Church Plan, which would have lifted the church’s prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy while adding protections for those who do not support the marriages. One Church Plan supporters worried about future. The division was present in the debates.

 

ST. LOUIS — United Methodists chose not to lift their denomination’s ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy while meeting in St. Louis this week.

Whether that decision by the church’s top policymaking body prompts congregations to leave the denomination for good remains to be seen. But the special session of the General Conference made explicitly clear that the rift within the global denomination over matters of human sexuality runs deep.

The 864 lay and clergy delegates from across the world spent three days debating whether to keep the language in the church’s rule book that prohibits “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as ministers as well as same-sex weddings.

The goal for the specially called meeting was to settle the church’s nearly 50-year-old conflict by finding a path forward and maintaining unity in the more than 12 million-member denomination.

Traditional Plan receives majority support

The division was present in the vote totals.

The Traditional Plan, which would reinforce the church’s current teachings, regularly received majority support throughout the multiday process.

Late Tuesday afternoon [February 26, 2019], delegates in a 438-384 vote approved the Traditional Plan as some opposed to it disrupted the meeting in protest.

“I’m especially grateful that the church has reaffirmed its historic teachings on marriage, sexual ethics and the ordination of clergy,” said Keith Boyette, the president of the conservative Wesleyan Covenant Association.

Still, Boyette said he is worried about the denomination.

“The future of the church is uncertain,” he said.

Boyette, whose association supports reinforcing the church’s current teachings, said he was not happy by some of the delay tactics used by those opposed to the Traditional Plan but was glad delegates shot down the progressive alternative.

The delegates voted Tuesday morning 449-374 to reject that progressive plan, known as the One Church Plan, which would have lifted the church’s prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy while adding protections for those who do not support the marriages.

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