Methodist court upholds right to bar gays from membership

Rejects attempts to evade 2005 decision
The United Methodist Church’s top court has rejected two separate attempts by regional conferences to evade a 2005 decision that allows pastors to bar gays and lesbians from joining the church.

The nine-member Judicial Council reviews the decisions of bishops and regional conferences to determine whether they accord with church rules and court decisions. Seven members of the council were present at the October 25-28 session, according to United Methodist News Service.

The court said a petition by the Kansas East Annual Conference that said pastors could not deny church membership “solely” on the basis of “the candidate . . . being a self-avowed homosexual” was contrary to the high court’s 2005 decision. While regional conferences and bishops are allowed to express opinions contrary to church rules, they may not direct pastors or lay members to disobey the rules, the court said.


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