Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
Contact: Jeff Walton: 202-413-5639, jwalton@TheIRD.org
St. Louis, MO—United Methodists have upheld their denomination’s rules on sexual ethics, rejecting plans that would permit same-sex marriages and clergy to be sexually active outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriages.
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church, the only body that can speak for the 12.6 million-member Christian denomination, voted Tuesday morning to reject a plan advocated for by the majority of the church’s bishops. Later in the day, delegates gathered in St. Louis adopted a plan advocated by traditionalists which increases accountability measures for clergy and local bodies.
The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, but has a global membership of more than 12 million members in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines.
The denomination’s longstanding official standards are that all people are welcome in its churches, while also teaching that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
United Methodist Action Director and elected General Conference Delegate John Lomperis commented:
“This was a historic turning point for our denomination, and will hopefully help make the United Methodist Church look refreshingly very different from what we have seen in the last several years.”
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“This General Conference is further proof that the center of gravity in the United Methodist Church is shifting from the United States and to the vibrant, growing Christian faith of the Global South.
“The United Methodist Church is no longer rooted in a declining liberal U.S. mainline Protestant tradition and is instead reflecting its identity as a global church.”