Methodist Clergy, Defying Church Restrictions on Gay Marriage

In December 2013, Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. Huffington Post reports on a similar case, and other Methodist pastors who are defying church regulations, by conducting same – sex church weddings, or by living openly with a same – sex partner.

Rev. Thomas Ogletree, Another Methodist Pastor, To Be Tried For Presiding At Same Sex Wedding Of Son


The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.

The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It’s the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church’s New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son’s 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.

Ogletree, 80, said he could not refuse his son’s request to preside at the wedding, which was held in New York, where gay marriage is legally recognized.

-continue reading at  .Huffington Post 

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LA Times: “Methodist minister won’t surrender credentials in gay-marriage dispute”

A United Methodist minister who was suspended for officiating at his son’s gay marriage said on Monday he will not voluntarily surrender his religious credentials even though he cannot uphold his church’s doctrines on issues relating to same-sex marriage.

A man places a hand on the shoulder of The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding, as he enters a news conference, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A man places a hand on the shoulder of The Rev. Frank Schaefer, as he enters a news conference at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Methodist Church begins mass consultation on gay marriage – Telegraph

The Methodist Church in the UK is to conduct a consultation of its members on whether to respond to the introduction next year of marriage equality, with approval for same – sex weddings in its churches.

The Methodist church could become the first major Christian denomination in Britain to conduct same-sex weddings after launching a consultation of its members about changing its official teaching.

Members of more than 5,000 congregations across mainland Britain are being asked to take part in a mass listening exercise which involves questions on changing the definition of marriage.

Churchgoers have until February to air their views before the findings are put before Methodist Conference, the church’s decision making body.

Under the terms of the Same-Sex Marriage Act, which comes into force next year, religious groups can perform gay marriage ceremonies if they actively opt-in as a group.

Although a handful of small Christian groups including the Quakers and Unitarians have made clear that they will conduct the weddings the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are opposed.

– Telegraph.

The Church of England has just published the recommendations of its investigations, which resulted in the recommendation that ministers should be permitted (but not compelled) to conduct church blessings. The Church of Ireland is currently engaged in its own investigation. The global Catholic Church is preparing to conduct an Extraordinary Syynod on Marriage and Family, preceded by its own worldwide consultation. In the US, decisions by the ECLA and PCUSA to permit ordination of openly gay and lesbian clergy came after their own processes of extensive listening, study and consultation. Whatever the ultimate recommendations of the processes by the Methodists and Church of Ireland, one positive outcome is guaranteed: a greater understanding by all, of the issues involved.

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Equal Marriage For Illinois: Catholic Bishops Lose (Again), Other Catholics Win.

Illinois has just become the latest state in which Catholic bishops have lost in their fight against equal marriage. That’s the ninth US state inside the last 12 months, in addition to New Zealand, France, Uruguay, United Kingdom and Colombia earlier this year. More will follow.

As elsewhere, Catholic bishops have lobbied hard to defeat the measure – and other Catholics have worked hard in support.

The Illinois House on Tuesday voted 61-54 to approve same-sex marriage, setting up the state to become the 15th to allow gay marriages.

Supporters said they had the 60 votes needed to make same-sex marriage legal as of June 1, 2014, after support from House Speaker Mike Madigan pointed to the long-awaited vote finally taking place.

The bill that passed the Senate this year had an effective date of Jan. 1 and required 71 votes, but Rep. Greg Harris changed the date to June 1 to require only 60 votes. SB10 must now go back to the Senate for another vote before Gov. Pat Quinn signs it, a move he already said he supports.

“It feels kind of obvious,” Rep. Ann Williams said during the debate leading up to the vote. “Why wouldn’t we treat everyone the same?”

“Discrimination will not endure,” Rep. Jack Franks said. Madigan quoted Pope Francis, saying “Who am I to judge?

full report at  NBC Chicago.

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Equal Marriage Opponent Gives Christians Credit for ‘Same Sex-Marriage Tsunami’

He doesn’t call it credit, but “blame” – but considering whence it comes, that counts as credit in my eyes. A prominent opponent of marriage equality is “blaming” Christian support for what he describes (accurately) as a same – sex marriage “tsunami”. Peter LaBarbera

The president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality made some shocking claims this week about practicing Christians who have decided to embrace lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals: you’re doing the work of the devil. Appearing on “Crosstalk” yesterday for a show titled “Same-Sex Marriage Tsunami,” Peter LaBarbera informed host Vic Eliason that Christians embracing LGBT-identifying individuals are engaged in an “insidious lie… straight from Satan’s talking points.” Eliason also chimed in with an interesting perspective about the Internet slang “OMG,” telling listeners that using the phrase is not only a curse against God but contributing to the corruption of American youth.

via Huffington Post .

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Catholic Singer: “I want my Catholic Church to support equal marriage”

Scottish singer and TV presenter Michelle McManus has said she disagrees with her Catholic Church’s opposition to equal marriage, in a video recorded for the Equality Network’s It’s Time campaign.

In her video, the Glaswegian singer who is best known for winning Pop Idol said: “I disagree with how my own religion views same-sex marriages, but then being a modern Catholic, most modern Catholics do disagree with a lot of these man-made laws.”

She added: “I support equal marriage for all because we live in 2013 and I don’t think any human should be treated any differently from another. I think it’s absolutely absurd that we all don’t have the same human rights.”

McManus is a devout Roman Catholic and performed two songs for Pope Benedict XVI at a Mass in Bellahouston Park as part of the former Pope’s visit to Scotland in 2010.

Studies suggest that a majority of Catholics in Scotland support equal marriage, including the respected Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (2010) which showed 54% of Scottish Catholics support same-sex marriage while only 25% oppose

continue reading at  –

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Archbishop Urges More ‘Respectful’ Tone on Gay Marriage

In one more sign that some Catholic bishops are changing their tone, if not their stance, on marriage equality, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has stated that the Church will remain opposed to gay marriage, but must learn to do so “in a more respectful way.”

Martin: church needs to be ‘respectful’ in gay marriage debate

The Archbishop of Dublin says the Catholic Church will remain opposed to gay marriage – but must learn to “fight its battles” in a more respectful way.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said there is a growing divergence between the Church’s view on marriage and that of wider society.

He said the Church’s position won’t change, but it must remain respectful in the debate.

“The church has taken a very strong line, and I don’t think people would expect the church to not to do that,” he said.

“But it would be done – and this is important – the church has to learn how to fight its battles in a respectful and in a noble way.”

His comments come after the Chairperson of the Constitutional Convention, Tom Arnold, urged the Government to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage.

Over 79% of the Convention favoured legalising marriage between two people of the same sex.


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Is The C of E Tiptoeing Towards Gay Marriage?

Damian Thompson, at the Daily Telegraph, thinks so:

The C of E is tiptoeing towards gay marriage

The Archbishop of Canterbury ran up the white flag on gay marriage this week and almost no one noticed. The Most Rev Justin Welby told the Evangelical Alliance – an umbrella group for born-again Christians – that “we should be really, really repentant” for having supported homophobia in the past. That call for repentance made the headlines – but it wasn’t the real story. Continue reading

A Conservative Catholic’s Evolution on Gay Marriage

Can there be any more doubt that Catholic responses to same – sex relationships, and to gay marriage, are evolving – rapidly. In the latest piece of evidence, we have this thoughtful reflection at Commonweal, by Joseph Bottum, a man with impeccable credentials as conservative Catholic, once renowned as a staunch opponent of marriage equality:

The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage



There’s this guy I know in Manhattan. Call him Jim. Jim Watson. We’re friends, I guess. We used to be friends, anyway—grabbing a hamburger together near Gramercy Park, from time to time, or meeting out on the Stuyvesant Town Oval on a summer afternoon to play some folk and bluegrass with the guitar strummers, mandolin pickers, autoharpers, and amateur banjo players who’d drift by. None of us any good, but fun, you know? Old-timey Americana like “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Pretty Saro,” and “The Orphan Girl.” A version of “Shady Grove,” I remember, was one of his specialties: When I was just a little boy, / all I wanted was a Barlow knife. / But now I am a great big boy, / I’m lookin’ for a wife.

A few years ago, his friendship began to cool, bit by bit. You understand how it is: a little here, a little there, and last time I was through New York he didn’t even bother to answer my note suggesting we put together one of our low-rent urban hootenannies. The problem, our conversations had made pretty clear along the way, was that I am a Catholic, and Jim is gay.

-continue reading at Commonweal Magazine

The article is long, but after a preamble on some of the unconvincing reasons for changing the  Catholic Church’s view on gay marriage, he helpfully makes plain  the crucial point to which he’s headed (my emphasis):

And so, I argue, a concern about the government’s recognizing of same-sex marriage ought to come low on the list of priorities as the church pursues the evangelizing of the culture. For that matter, after the long hard work of restoring cultural sensitivity to the metaphysical meanings reflected in all of reality, Catholics will have enough experience to decide what measure of the deep spirituality of nuptials, almost absent in present culture, can reside in same-sex unions.

– See more at:Commonweal Magazine

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Hawaii religious leaders sign gay marriage appeal

More than two dozen Hawaii faith leaders of various religions signed a resolution Monday calling the state to pass a law legalizing gay marriage.Jewish, Unitarian, Methodist and other leaders read and signed the poster-sized declaration at an interfaith brunch at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.”Its all about standing on the right side of history,” said Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kupono Kwong of the First Unitarian Church.Kwong said the groups would continue to press on the issue until more people are in favor of gay marriage.”We will keep doing it until were all prayed out,” Kwong said.The resolution asks Hawaii lawmakers to extend civil marriage benefits to same-sex couples. Hawaii currently has a civil unions law, but some say it doesnt go far enough in fully recognizing couples as married.The church leaders say civil recognition of the relationships is a matter of fairness.The gathering, organized by Hawaii United for Marriage, comes one day after Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that its very likely there will be a special session to take up the issue.Abercrombie told the newspaper that hes more concerned that any bill is legally sound than about timing. The Legislature begins its normal session in January.

 – continue reading at Houston Chronicle.

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