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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Gay Clergy Ban Reversed

The legislative body of the United Methodist Church voted to repeal a 40-year ban on the ordination of gay clergy yesterday, one of several rule changes around sexuality adopted at their General Conference. The church is the second-largest Protestant Christian denomination in the US with roughly 5 million members, with another 5 million located abroad, primarily in Africa.

The 692-51 vote upends a church rule first implemented in 1984 that barred LGBTQ+ members from being ordained (see history). For decades, the conference—which meets every four years and acts as the church's highest authority—upheld the bans while recognizing the civil rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

In recent years, some church officials opted not to enforce the rules. A process of so-called disaffiliation began in 2020, where traditional Methodist congregations could opt to leave the conference while retaining their church property. Roughly a quarter of the conference—7,600 communities—did so during a three-year window. More votes are expected ahead of the conference's conclusion tomorrow. 

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