It seems to me that It begins and ends with compassion. Our God is a compassionate, welcoming God. We are called to follow in that way.
The UM Book of Discipline says that I, as a UM clergyperson, am to provide"ministry within the congregation and to the world." Because there is compelling evidence that none of us choose our sexual orientation--we are born heterosexual or homosexual or perhaps somewhere on a continuum of orientation--and, because I believe that neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality, in and of itself, causes harm, to draw a line and exclude some people from the blessing of covenant relationship by the church seems to me to be an act that refutes the gospel. In other words, the statement disallowing holy unions in the Discipline contradicts, I believe, other disciplinary (and biblical!) mandates, and certainly the thread of reconciliation and hospitality that runs through the scriptures and through our UM tradition.
That's why I signed the Statement of Commitment. I do not take lightly the idea of standing "over against" the Discipline, even if it is standing over against a part of the traditionally non-binding Social Principles. But I have also not felt this strongly a call to take an action in a long while. It is simply what I must do.
The Staff-Parish Committee of our congregation knows I have signed, and they have read the Statement. I have received from them only supportive response. They may not agree with me, but they support me, and I am blessed by their care.
Susan A. Ross, elder (for 21 years)
Oklahoma Annual Conference
April 8, 1998