The Center for Investigative Reporting reports:
San Francisco’s former United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert gave a sermon at the denomination’s global conference last year, urging pastors to defy church law by performing gay wedding ceremonies. On Saturday, Talbert plans to answer that call himself, marrying parishioners Bobby Prince and Joe Openshaw in Birmingham, Ala. Church leaders predict Talbert’s action will aggravate a growing conflict between conservative and liberal factions of the United Methodist Church – one of the last mainline Protestant denominations that bans gay marriage. With roots in the civil rights movement and a past stint as president of the National Council of Churches, Talbert appears destined to become the most prominent of the clergy members headed for formal church trials for their defiance – a process that begins with a complaint from a church member.
Maybe these acts of civil disobedience will finally bring about an end to the discriminatory policies of the Methodist Church, historically one of the more open churches in the country.