We covered the demonstration following rejection of any official accommodation of conscience for clergy and laity in the Methodist Church who are supporters of marriage equality last week. But there’s more to what happened than just the demonstration. The Conference decided, after the votes that would have officially admitted a diversity of opinion to cancel all subsequent votes on issues touching on the same subject.
Episcopal News Service has a good analysis (with links to source material) of the whole sequence of events:
“On May 3, the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered in Tampa, Fla., soundly rejected two motions that would have amended the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, which calls the practice of homosexuality ‘incompatible with Christian teaching.’ After those votes, protesters flooded the convention floor, briefly shutting down the conference.
Conference planners, evangelical leaders and gay and lesbian advocates met later that day and determined that there was little use in holding additional contentious debates on homosexuality, according to several sources. Proposals to ordain gay clergy and bless same-sex unions held little chance of passing, the parties agreed, and so were pushed to the back of the agenda, essentially assuring that they would not be debated.
‘Leaders of the demonstration were told that the legislation was postponed to avoid more harm to LGBT people and their supporters,’ the Love Your Neighbor Coalition said in a statement. ‘The United Methodist Church had an opportunity to offer love, grace, and hope,’ the coalition said. ‘Sadly, we did not take that opportunity.’
The UMC’s policy remains that ministers cannot marry same-sex couples and churches cannot host same-sex weddings. Clergy in same-sex relationships are likewise banned.”
The Methodist Conference went on to rule unconstitutional all of the proposed changes to their structure (previously covered here). Not a good a good outcome for many in the US Methodist Church on either account.