At the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church last weekend, a groundbreaking same-sex marriage resolution was narrowly approved.
According to the Washington Post, the resolution, which was passed at the church’s annual local conference, means the church’s Book of Discipline would now have to be amended “to allow pastors to perform same-sex marriages and ceremonies in member churches in jurisdictions where legislatures already have approved gay marriage laws, such as the District.”
This raises the stakes for voting on the issue at next year’s national conference in Florida: the measure requires approval from a majority of the 1,000 delegates in order to take effect.
The resolution states that: “[I]n those civil jurisdictions where homosexual persons have been granted the right to same gender marriage or civil union, ceremonies celebrating those marriages or unions may be conducted in our churches and by our ministers, the decision being the right and responsibility of the pastor.”
Ann Birkel, head of Foundry’s advocacy team on LGBT issues told the Washington Post: “We believe that more and more Christians are examining the issue and realising that it is truly a civil rights issue and that members of our denomination are just as deserving of support of their church communities and their commitments to each other. It’s an idea whose time has come.”