As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, about 70 United Methodist clergy pledged to “offer the grace of the Church’s blessing to any prepared couple desiring Christian marriage.” The statement was released at the Minnesota United Methodist Annual Conference, which was meeting in St. Cloud, Minn., June 1-3.
The statement was a challenge to the United Methodist Church policy, which forbids Methodist clergy from performing blessings or marriages for gay and lesbian couples. The United Methodist Church will be meeting at its General Conference in Tampa in the spring of 2012. However, the timing of the statement also sends a strong to the residents of Minnesota, since they will be voting on a constitutional amendment that bans marriage equality in the Minnesota state constitution in the 2012 election. The clergy who organized the statement intended to challenge both church policy and to give voice to people of faith who oppose the Minnesota constitutional amendment.
While any clergy who perform weddings for same-sex couples could lose their license under United Methodist policy, adding one’s name to such a statement is not against the church policy. This statement from the Minnesota Annual Conference follows similar statements from retired bishops, as well as African-American clergy and scholars.
GLAAD applauds the tenacity of all the United Methodist members working to make a change in their denomination, as well as in larger society.