General Conference 2008: UMC Opposes Homophobia; Keeps Ban on Civil Unions

April 30, 2008

By Bruce Pettit

California-Nevada News Service


FORT WORTH, April 30 – The 2008 General Conference today came out against "homophobia and heterosexism" for a new resolution for its Book of Resolutions, but it retained bans on gay marriage and civil unions in its sanctuaries for its Book of Discipline.


The General Conference is scheduled to take up the issue of the Discipline phrase, "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" this afternoon.


The resolution that the UMC oppose homophobia came from the Kansas East Annual Conference and passed by 544 to 365 votes, or 60 to 40 percent.


General Conference voted 574 to 298, or 66 to 34 percent, to reject a petition from the New York Annual Conference to change the Discipline to say that "committed unions" are shared fidelity between "two adult persons." Nearly identically, 568 to 312, or 65 to 35 percent, it kept the ban on LGBT unions being celebrated in UMC sanctuaries.


More narrowly the General Conference rejected – 483 to 405, or 54 to 46 percent – another New York Conference petition that proposed for the Discipline that "civil unions" be added to the list of areas where rights of homosexual persons should be protected.


However, the General Conference allowed sexual orientation to be added to a list of categories of people who should have equal opportunity to education.