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Thursday, June 13, 2024

United Methodist Church lifts LGBTQ bans including officiating same-sex wedding

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The United Methodist Church (UMC) has officially adopted an LGBTQ-inclusive policy.

The decision is expected to intensify the conflict within the UMC, which has seen a number of churches withdraw from the organization accordingly.

At its General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 30, the UMC voted to remove a rule that prohibited officiating at same-sex marriages. Clergy will no longer be disciplined for performing same-sex marriages in the UMC.

UMC lifted ban on same-sex wedding and LGBTQ clergy. [Image captured from UMC]

The repeal passed overwhelmingly in a vote of delegates, with 667 votes in favor and 54 against.

In addition, the UMC also voted to remove a ban on funding LGBTQ-supportive ministries. The UMC currently bans the ordination of LGBTQ ministers.

“The overwhelmingly favorable vote in the 30-day balloting reflects the general consensus of the convention,” the Associated Press said, noting that the LGBTQ-inclusive policy “could accelerate an exodus, especially from conservative churches.”

Prior to the vote, more than 7,600 churches in the UMC had already decided to leave the denomination in response to the policy. Korean American Methodist churches have also been leaving the UMC in droves. Korean American churches have been reuniting to form a new conservative denomination, the Global Methodist Church (GMC).

“It was already expected that the UMC General Conference would make such a decision,” said Sungju Ahn, an elder at LA Basics Global Methodist Church, a congregation made up of Korean American members who recently left the UMC. “It will accelerate the withdrawal of many churches that have been following the situation,” he said.

BY YEOL JANG, HOONSIK WOO [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]