A Methodist conference has passed a resolution "to encourage the study of sexual orientation," which a spokesman said was approved with little fanfare because the resolution doesn't effect any real changes. "The key here is, we're talking about study," said Don Perry, a spokesman for the Wyoming Conference of the United Methodist Church. "We're not changing church policy." The Wyoming Conference, which is holding its annual meeting in Scranton, Pa., includes churches from seven northeastern Pennsylvania counties and six counties in southern New York. Perry said the conference has more than 70,000 members.
The Reverend Susan Davis, a pastor at Bethel and Ransom United Methodist churches and chairwoman of the conference's social justice network, said she introduced the resolution because a national United Methodist conference came out in opposition to gay-friendly policies a few years ago. "After the 2000 General Conference came down hard on same-sex marriages, so many people are asking why we're revisiting this again," Davis said. "But it's a divisive issue, and I feel very strongly about it, and I wanted to write the resolution."