This week policymakers from the United Methodist Church gathered in St. Louis, Missouri for a special session of the General Conference dedicated to the discussion of human sexuality. Ultimately, the denomination voted to strengthen its worldwide ban on marriages between same-sex couples and out LGBTQ clergy. In doing so, the denomination sided with opponents of LGBTQ dignity and equality, despite a large number of United Methodists who support and affirm LGBTQ people or are themselves part of the LGBTQ community.
The Campaign for Southern Equality stands in solidarity with LGBTQ United Methodists and their allies. The day after the vote Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said:
“Last night’s vote by the United Methodst Church to strengthen the ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages is a heartbreaking development and it speaks to all the work yet to be done to ensure that LGBTQ people are fully included in faith communities and in every part of our shared, public life.
LGBTQ people are fully equal children of God. But we live in a time where this truth continues to be denied by institutions like the United Methodist Church and by state governments that propose and pass extreme, discriminatory laws like HB1523 in Mississippi.
In the South especially, we know this story is far from over, and we know how vital it is to keep hope alive. We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ people and their allies in the United Methodist Church who will continue to work for transformation within their faith community. And we remain fully committed to approaching all people – including those who oppose our rights – with empathy and love, believing this is only path to true change.”
The Religious Institute also has a helpful guide on how to be a helpful, rather than harmful, ally to LGBTQ people in the United Methodist Church. Check it out here.