United Methodist Church Lifts Bans on Gay Clergy and Same-Sex Weddings

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On May 1, 2024, delegates of the United Methodist Church voted without debate to lift a 40-year ban on “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as clergy.

The delegates also voted to lift the penalties for performing same-sex marriages. Though penalties were enforced unevenly, the change in policy allows such marriages in the church for the first time. Delegates also voted that clergy could not be punished for not performing same-sex marriages.

In 2019, the church voted to tighten restrictions against same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy. Since that vote, many conservative factions of the church have splintered off, making the congregation at large more progressive. The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant church in the United States, behind the Southern Baptist Convention.

1. Should same-sex marriage be legal? Why or why not?

2. Should individual clergy members be allowed to choose whether to perform a same-sex marriage? Why or why not?

3. Should government officials be allowed to choose whether to perform a same-sex marriage or issue a marriage license? Why or why not?

Ruth Graham, “United Methodist Church Reverses Ban on Practicing Gay Clergy,” nytimes.com, May 1, 2024