Roundup of Protestant church positions on gay rights
The AP has a thumbnail piece on the current status of gay rights issues within various Protestant denominations. The story’s up because the Evangelical Lutherans will vote this week on whether to ordain gays and bless same-sex unions. Here’s a peek.
* UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: The liberal, 1.3 million-member denomination passed a resolution July 4 endorsing same-sex marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination to do so. The church has been ordaining gays for decades.
* EPISCOPAL CHURCH: This U.S. branch of Anglicanism sparked a crisis in the global Anglican Communion by confirming its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Controversy over Robinson has battered the 2.3 million-member American church for the past two years and Anglicans worldwide are struggling to find a way to stay together.
* AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES USA: Tensions over homosexuality are heating up in the 1.4 million-member denomination; its leader pleaded for unity at a churchwide meeting last month. The denomination bars ordination of partnered gays, but several congregations are ignoring the prohibition. Some conservatives are threatening to leave unless those churches are reined in.
* UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: The denomination of 8.2 million members last year upheld its ban on ordaining sexually active gays. Recently, two lesbian ministers who have partners were separately tried by the church on charges they violated that rule. One woman was acquitted; the other’s case is before the highest church court.
* PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.): A task force for the denomination of 2.4 million people is scheduled to finish a report this summer on how to overcome severe disagreements on gay relationships. The church currently bans sexually active gays from the clergy ranks.