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Minister Suspended Over Union Ceremony

Minister Suspended Over Union Ceremony

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A United Methodist Church court has ordered that a lesbian pastor in Wisconsin be suspended for 20 days, beginning July 1, for performing a same-sex union ceremony two years ago in defiance of church law.

Church jurors ordered the suspension Thursday, after having found the Reverend Amy DeLong guilty of the charge Wednesday by a vote of 13-0, the Associated Press reports. The panel acquitted her of a second charge, of violating the denomination's requirement of celibacy for gay and lesbian clergy, because of a lack of evidence that her relationship with her partner involves sexual contact. During the trial, DeLong refused to answer questions about that matter. As reported earlier, DeLong pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The United Methodist Church has been divided over gay issues, and people on both sides claimed partial victory after the ruling. The court could have imposed a harsher penalty, such as stripping DeLong of her ministry.

"I think the jury pool showed creativity," said the Reverend Scott Carlson, who supported DeLong. "It shows they took their role seriously, that they considered how healing might come."

The Reverend Tom Lambrecht, who represented the church in the trial, said officials were "pleased that the penalty recognizes that a violation took place and that there is a consequence for that violation."

The jurors also ordered DeLong to compose and present a document outlining issues that interfere with the covenant between the church and its clergy. If she does not do so, she will be suspended for a year beginning in June 2012.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.