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United Methodist Church & homosexuality


Trials of UMC clergy

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bullet "If I am found guilty by a trial court, then the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church is in conflict with the Gospel. It is arrogance on the part of the church to elevate some people's relationship with God, while denigrating that of others on the basis of innate sexuality." Jimmy Creech, 1999-NOV, on the eve of his trial for conducting a same-sex union ceremony. (He was found guilty.)

bullet "The church is not of one mind. I expect this issue to continue to be raised until society comes to terms with it." Bishop Elias Galvan after the acquittal of Karan Dammann in 2004-MAR.


With a membership of about 9 million, the United Methodist Church (UMC) is the third largest Christian denomination in the U.S., after the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. It is in a state of conflict over homosexuality. Its Book of Discipline declares homosexual behavior to be "incompatible to Christian teachings." Gays and lesbians are acceptable for ordination, but must remain celibate or risk being fired. However, the church's social principles support equal rights and liberties for homosexuals, including the right to not be fired from a job because of their sexual orientation, or relationships.

Serious splits have become visible in the denomination, between young and elderly church members, between conservative and liberal members of individual congregations, between rural and urban congregations, and between conservative and liberal regions of the U.S.

A number of UMC ministers have run afoul of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the church by revealing their committed same-sex relationship. Others have conducted church rituals recognizing the relationships of loving, committed same-sex couples.

People discussed in this section:

bullet Rose Mary Denman and Jimmy Creech
bullet Gregory Dell, Mark Williams, and Karen Dammann
bullet Irene Elizabeth Stroud

Copyright 1997 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Date of last update: 2011-FEB-21
Author: B.A. Robinson
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