On July 15 the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, meeting in Wichita, Kansas, responded immediately to the Western Jurisdiction’s election of an openly gay bishop, in defiance of denominational law of the over 12 million member global church, by asking for a ruling from the church’s top court, the Judicial Council. Here is the text of that request, made by Kansas laywoman Dixie Brewster, and approved by 56% of delegates:
MOTION FOR A DECLARATORY DECISION
Bishop, I move that the South Central Jurisdictional Conference request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on the following matter:
Is the nomination, election, consecration, and/or assignment as a bishop of The United Methodist Church of a person who claims to be a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” or is a spouse in a same-sex marriage lawful under The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
What is the application, meaning and effect of ¶ 304.3, ¶ 310.2d, ¶ 341.6, and ¶ 2702.1 (a), (b), and (d) in regard to the nomination, election, consecration and/or assignment as bishop of a person who claims to be a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” or is a spouse in a same-sex marriage or civil union? Further —
• Does a public record that a nominee for the episcopacy is a spouse in a same-sex marriage disqualify that person from nomination, election, consecration and/or assignment as a bishop in The United Methodist Church?
• If a jurisdictional conference nominates, elects, consecrates, and/or assigns a person who, by virtue of being legally married or in a civil union under civil law to a same-sex partner, would be subject to a chargeable offense, is the action of the jurisdictional conference null and void?
• Is it lawful for one or more of the bishops of a jurisdiction to consecrate a person as bishop when the bishop-elect is known by public record to be a spouse in a same-sex marriage or civil union?
• When a bishop, district superintendent, district committee on ordained ministry, Board of Ordained Ministry, or clergy session becomes aware or is made aware that a clergy person is a spouse in a same sex marriage or civil union of public record, does such information in effect and in fact amount to a self-avowal of the practice of homosexuality as set forth in ¶ 304.3, related footnotes and related Judicial Council Decisions?