In April 1996, The United Methodist Church modified its Social Principles Statement with the addition of the words: "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches" ( ¶ 65c).
We call upon United Methodists to dissent from this teaching for the following reasons:
1. It is not just. It singles out one class of people and denies them the ministry of the church in a way that is discriminatory and cruel.
2. It is not law. By description and Judicial Council decision, the Social Principles are intended to be persuasive, not coercive. The use of proscriptive "shall not" language is out of character and out of place in this document. It is not enforceable.
3. It is in conflict with the Social Principles commitment "to be in ministry for and with all persons."
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Historical Note: Signatures to this statement are no longer being collected. It has been replaced by a clergy and laity statement about covenant services.