United Methodist Church continues to ban same-sex marriage


The Collegiate United Methodist Church on Lincoln Way. 

Logan Metzger

The global United Methodist Church met in St. Louis, Missouri on Feb. 23 through 26 for their general conference and made decisions that affected the LGBTQIA+ community within the church.

“Methodism represents a branch of Protestant Christianity that traces its heritage back to John Wesley and his attempts to bring revival within the Church of England in the early 18th century,” according to the Patheos website.

The purpose of the conference was to act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward, authorized to examine paragraphs in the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen church unity, according to the United Methodist Church website.

The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality as well as explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church, according to the United Methodist Church website.

The Traditional Plan was passed by the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. This means the current statements about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQIA+ individuals have not changed within the United Methodist Church.

The Traditional Plan received 438 yes votes (53 percent) and 384 no votes (47 percent).

“LGBTQIA people have not been banned by The United Methodist Church,” according to the United Methodist Church website. “We acknowledge, however, that many LGBTQIA+ people, their loved ones and allies were hurt by the speeches, rhetoric and decisions of the General Conference. We pray for healing and forgiveness.” 

The current United Methodist Church stance on homosexuality can be found here.

The United Methodist Church does not recognize or celebrate same-sex marriages. According to the Book of Discipline, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

The denomination’s official policy include support of laws that define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. During the 2019 conference, the denomination reaffirmed its ban on marriage equality.

According to the Human Rights Campaign website, the Traditional Plan enacts new standards for punishing ministers who perform same-sex weddings which are a minimum one-year suspension without pay for the first wedding and permanent removal from ministry for the second.

“Personally, I feel extremely upset that the church voted on the traditionalist approach, especially since we have been progressive in the past,” said Jensen Wilke, a freshman in speech communication and member of the Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation congregation. “Our church is still all-inclusive, and I hope that their decision does not turn anyone away from the church.”

The Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation is located at 2622 Lincoln Way. According to their website they welcome everyone, including those with sexual orientations differentiate from heterosexual.

“I’ve been very clear that the decision [by the rest of the United Methodist Church] does not affect who we are. We will continue to our churches stated commitment to always be open for same-sex weddings,” said Rev. Jen Hibben, associate pastor and campus pastor for the Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation in Ames.

Wilke said from her perspective many students and people in his congregation are fully welcoming of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Although the results of the National Conference are not what we hoped for, I hope people know they always will have a place in our congregation,” Wilke said.