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United Methodist Church ends 40-year ban on LGBTQ+ clergy

United Methodist Church in NC
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The church has long been divided into factions over its stance on homosexuality and gay clergy and even weighed splitting into two separate churches over the issue.

By Justin Gamble, CNN

(CNN) — The United Methodist Church overturned its 40-year ban on gay clergy Wednesday, during a meeting of the church’s top legislative body in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The church has long been divided into factions over its stance on homosexuality and gay clergy and even weighed splitting into two separate churches over the issue, CNN previously reported.

The church had maintained a ban on clergy members who were “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” since 1984, and later added performing or celebrating same-sex unions to “a list of chargeable offenses that could result in a church trial,” according to a timeline of the church’s history with the LGBTQ community.

But Wednesday’s vote marked a dramatic shift in the United Methodist Church stance on homosexuality.

In a 692-51 vote the church’s legislative body passed several rules without debate, including overturning both its ban on gay clergy and the penalties for holding same-sex marriages, according to the United Methodist News service.

LGBTQ advocates within the church hailed the decision.

“This morning I cried … because a fight I’ve been in for so long found justice,” Pastor Matt Patrick wrote in a post on X. “We are no longer [saying] that being gay is a sin …and no longer ban LGBTQ from serving as ministers … Praise be to God.”

According to the church’s news service, members cheered, cried and hugged after the vote.

“We’ve been going on like this since the ’70s and, finally, in just a brief few minutes with no debate, it was gone. And now we can get on about the business of the church,” Marilyn Murphy, an observer from the church’s South Carolina conference, told the news service.

More changes are expected as the legislative conference continues.

This is a developing story. Please check back for the latest updates.

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