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Update:  The United Methodist Church has voted to strengthen its ban on openly LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages by affirming its "Traditional Plan" 438-384. UMC, the nation’s second-largest Protestant church, reached the decision in a final vote at a General Conference at America's Center in St. Louis on Tuesday.

 

The United Methodist Church (UMC) is meeting in St. Louis from Saturday to Tuesday, at America’s Center downtown, for a special session of the General Conference to decide whether to change church rules that bar same-sex weddings and prohibit “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as pastors.

 

Despite intense debate, which has prompted some churches to leave the denomination, preliminary voting in the Legislative Committee on Monday doesn't bode well for progressive change.

 

In a 461-459 vote, delegates affirmed the "Traditional Plan", which will move on to a final vote on Tuesday. The LGBTQ-inclusive "One Church Plan" failed to pass the Legislative Committee after delegates voted 436-386 against.

 

According to a report by ChurchLeaders, the Traditional Plan is favored by those in the church who wish to maintain "a traditional view of marriage as being between one man and one woman". It also tightens restrictions on LGBTQ persons who wish to serve as clergy members. Others that leaned toward allowing the church to perform same-sex weddings and ordain openly LGBTQ clergy were in favor of the One Church Plan - which would allow individual churches to decide where they land on the issue of marriage equality and clergy.

 

On Tuesday,  delegates are expected to cast a final vote to affirm or reject the Traditional Plan. Since the One Church Plan did not make it out of committee, the chances of it being brought forward for another vote are slim to none. Delegates will also be voting on petitions concerning churches that wish to leave the denomination.

 

The UMC General Conference meets every four years to vote on issues concerning its churches across the globe. The conference is composed of almost 1,000 delegates (half lay members, half clergy) that are elected by annual conferences to attend the General Conference. 

 

UMC Wading Into LGBTQ Equality At STL Conference

The United Methodist church is meeting in St. Louis for a special session of the General Conference to decide on whether to finally change church rules that bar same-sex weddings and prohibit “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as pastors. [Video by Philip Deitch]

Posted by Boom Magazine STL on Monday, February 25, 2019

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/26/us/united-methodists-vote.html

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