Many religious LGBTQ people have struggled to find a faith community that welcomes them. According to a 2015 study, 59% of LGBTQ people are religiously affiliated. Now, the second largest denomination in the United States, the United Methodist Church, has doubled-down on their anti-LGBTQ stance, making it harder for LGBTQ people to find a welcoming church.
The Methodist Church held a large conference this week to decide whether or not to allow individual churches to decide whether to hold same-sex weddings and ordain lesbian, gay, and bisexual clergy members.
The church was deciding between two plans, a “traditional plan” and a “one church plan.” The one church plan would have allowed local churches to perform same-sex weddings and ordain lesbian, gay, and bisexual leadership, but in the end, that plan lost in a 449-374 vote. Instead, the traditional plan was passed, which forbids same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy, and encourages Methodists who disagree with the anti-LGBTQ policies to leave the church. During the vote, many LGBTQ church members and advocates stood in protest under rainbow banners or wore rainbow pins and clothes.
One former Methodist pastor, Rebecca Wilson, told The Guardian that she was feeling, “devastation. As someone who left because I’m gay, I’m waiting for the church I love to stop bringing more hate.”
“Countless LGBTQ Methodists, including young people and their families, are yearning for a welcoming church family,” said Jay Brown, HRC Foundation’s Acting Senior Vice President in a statement. “Unfortunately, today The United Methodist Church decided against taking meaningful steps that would include LGBTQ Methodists fully in the life of the church.”