UMC court upholds language on homosexuality

LOS ANGELES — The United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest court, has refused to rule on two petitions attempting to change the denomination’s official position against homosexuality and gay “marriage.”

Under the heading “Qualifications for Ordination,” the United Methodist Church (UMC) Book of Discipline states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” The petitions from the California-Pacific Annual Conference and the Denmark Annual Conference asked the court to label the wording unconstitutional.

In Memorandum No. 1347 and Memorandum No. 1354 released Oct. 27, the Judicial Council concluded that it did not have the authority to rule on the constitutionality of the language,

“The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction to answer questions from an annual conference that do not relate to annual conference or the work therein,” read Memo 1347. “It would be improper for the Judicial Council to answer questions beyond its authority.”

The council also re-stated its earlier opinion that all qualifications of ministerial candidates must be examined in response to a decision by church officials in Baltimore-Washington to exclude a lesbian candidate from ordination, according to the UMC News Service. (TAB)