WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today responded to the United Methodist Church's decision to reaffirm homophobic language which says homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and its failure to reverse a decision by the church's Judicial Council to allow pastors to reject lesbian and gay people who seek membership in the church. The vote, which passed by a margin of only 84 votes out of more than 900 cast, reaffirmed discriminatory language in the Discipline of the United Methodist Church and failed to counteract an earlier decision by the denominations judicial body. The vote was taken on Wednesday, April 30, at the United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Separately, the church voted against anti-transgender legislation and voted to oppose "all forms of violence or discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual practice or sexual orientation."
The following statement is by Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion & Faith Program:
"I am heartbroken, as are my colleagues at HRC, by the spiritual violence done to lesbian and gay people by the United Methodist Church, the denomination in which I once pastored, my parents were married, my nieces and nephews baptized, and out of which my beloved grandmother was buried last June.
Nevertheless, the church has committed itself to working for civil rights protections for LGBT people and has explicitly rejected discrimination against transgender people. Therefore we expect and call on the Bishops of the United Methodists Church and local UMC pastors to speak out publicly in support of a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes Protection Act and we will be offering them many opportunities to do so, especially at Clergy Call 2009."
To learn more about the HRC Religion & Faith Program, visit: www.hrc.org/religion.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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