Reconciling Ministries Network

Desert Southwest Annual Conference: Marriage Equality Resolution

WHEREAS, the recent SCOTUS ruling makes Marriage Equality legal in California, and,

WHEREAS, Our Annual Conference consist of part of California, and

WHEREAS, the continuing denial of full access to all the rights and privileges in the United Methodist Church is causing deep spiritual harm to our LGBT brothers and sisters and is a threat to us all; and

WHEREAS, our membership vows call us “to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”; and

WHEREAS, we are called to be obedient to the whole of church law which calls the church to be in ministry with all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons.

WHEREAS, the opening section of The Book of Discipline, which reminds us of serious flaws and shortcomings manifest in the larger history of Methodism.  Shortcomings specifically listed include our previous accommodation of racial segregation by establishing a race-based Central Jurisdiction, and our extended denial of ordination rights and prominent leadership roles for women, and

WHEREAS, the “Social Principles” of The United Methodist Church (Part IV) strongly endorses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with emphasis on respect for the inherent dignity of all persons.  Explicitly cited are the full rights of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; and the rights of children, young people, the aging, women, men, immigrants, and persons with disabilities.  The list concludes by declaring the full human rights of all persons without regard to their sexual orientations, a reference that suggests rational and experiential grounds for endorsing the rights of same-sex couples to marry, and

WHEREAS It is in the context of these traditions that we must address current shortcomings in United Methodist polity, in particular, forty-one years of prejudicial language portraying the life practices of gay and lesbian persons as “incompatible with Christian teaching,” a standard that has excluded them from ordination, from marriage, and in some cases even from church membership (Judicial Council Ruling 1032).  These exclusionary principles are prominent components of the “chargeable offenses” assigned to the “Judicial Administration” (chapter 7, par. 2702).  Such unjust rules, combined with the prosecution of clergy who refuse to uphold them, are themselves incompatible with United Methodist visions of inclusiveness, which call of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors.”

WHEREAS, The Desert Southwest Annual Conference is part of the Larger Western Jurisdiction, which adopted the “Statement of Gospel Obedience” that states the denomination is in error in its stance on the practice of homosexuality and urged United Methodists to operate as if that position does not exist.

WHEREAS, at last years Annual Conference we resolved that the Desert Southwest Conference reaffirm its commitment to and work for the full civil and ecclesiastical rights and privileges of all persons including LGBT persons and that the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church work together to build a fully inclusive church. We commit to be in ministry with all people, regardless of their economic status, race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, or immigration status, therefore let it be

RESOLVED that the Desert Southwest Annual Conference and the United Methodist Churches of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference make a public statement supporting and upholding Marriage Equality. Let it further be

RESOLVED that the Desert Southwest Annual Conference and the United Methodist Churches of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference will support our clergy who take the bold and faithful stand to minister to all equally and include all in the life of the church, which includes but is not limited to, conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies where it is civically legal to do so. Let it further be

RESOLVED, that the Desert Southwest Annual Conference and the United Methodist Churches of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, will support (spiritually, emotionally and prayerfully) clergy who are brought up on charges for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.