The Methodist Church is undergoing a round of soul-searching over the issue of marriage equality. The New York Times reports:
For Dr. Ogletree, the issues are not just academic. He has fully accepted, he said, that two of his five children are gay. His daughter married her partner in Massachusetts, in a non-Methodist ceremony. So when his son asked him last year to officiate at the wedding, he said yes. “I was inspired,” Dr. Ogletree said. “I actually wasn’t thinking of this as an act of civil disobedience or church disobedience. I was thinking of it as a response to my son.”
The wedding of Thomas Rimbey Ogletree and Nicholas W. Haddad, held on Oct. 20, 2012, at the Yale Club in New York, incorporated readings from Scripture and the Massachusetts court decision legalizing same-sex marriages. A wedding announcement in The New York Times prompted several conservative Methodist ministers to file a complaint against Dr. Ogletree with the local bishop.
“This ceremony is a chargeable offense” under the rules of the church, wrote the ministers, led by the Rev. Randall C. Paige, pastor of Christ Church in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
The last time the Church discussed officially changing its views on homosexuality, last summer, it failed by a 61-39% vote. Still, marriage equality supporters soldier on:
In the New York area, 208 Methodist ministers have said they are willing to perform same-sex weddings. The Rev. Vicki Flippin, associate pastor at the Church of the Village in Manhattan, said she had performed two such ceremonies in recent years, and the Rev. Scott Summerville, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Yonkers, said he had officiated at two.
I belonged to a methodist church growing up, and personally never heard a word uttered against gays and lesbians at my church. In fact, they even sponsored a sex-ed course for teens that included a book that spoke positively about being gay. I think the Methodist Church, as a whole, will come around eventually.