United Methodist Church leaders on Tuesday voted to keep in place bans on same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy members.
Church delegates voted 449-374 against the so-called One Church Plan, which would have allowed individual churches to decide whether to perform same-sex weddings and allow LGBTQ clergy. The Traditional Plan won support instead.
The Rev. Tom Berlin of Virginia, who supported the One Church Plan, said it wouldn’t have forced any members of the church to change their beliefs in the Bible or churches to perform same-sex marriages.
“If the Traditional Plan is voted in, it will be a virus that will make the American church very sick,” he said. “Many pastors are going to leave, many annual conference will leave. … There will be trials, and they will be on the news. The only news about the church will be about people we don’t serve.”
The vote happened during a meeting of hundreds of delegates from churches worldwide in St. Louis. The discussion on the topic came in the wake of a 2018 report on possibly revising the church’s Book of Discipline to include a spectrum of views on sexuality.
Another delegate, Nancy Denardo of Pennsylvania, said scripture supports the Traditional Plan.
“Friends, please stop sowing seeds of deceit,” she said. “I’m truly sorry if the truth of the Gospel hurts anyone; I love you and I love you enough to tell the truth.”