UMC Officially Removes 40-year Ban on Gay Clergy, LGBTQ+ Weddings

United Methodist Church delegates voted on May 1 to remove a ban on ordaining gay clergy and to allow LGBTQ+ weddings.

Leaders in the church are meeting at their General Conference for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Ruth Graham reports for the New York Times: “The overturning of the 40-year-old ban on ‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ passed overwhelmingly and without debate in a package of measures that had already received strong support in committee.” According to UM News, the official newsgathering agency of the denomination, the vote was 692-51, with approval at 93 percent.

The Times and UM News report that additional votes to affirm LGBTQ+ clergy and church attendees are expected before the end of the denominational meeting on Friday.

In an April 2021 article for Sojourners, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann and her father, retired Methodist pastor Bill Wylie-Kellermann, explain what it meant to support each other through Lydia’s wedding to her wife Erinn, and the ecclesial reverberations that followed. 

“We had to climb the steps of the church fearing we would pass through a line of protesters. We entered the sanctuary feeling the loved ones missing in the pews because they couldn’t support our marriage,” they wrote. “We walked hand in hand down the aisle, combatting our own internalized homophobia, showing our love publicly with hands, promises, and kisses. We could not have done it without the love of community. The dearly beloveds who filled that church held our hearts and knees steady.”

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