On Tuesday, The United Methodist Church rejected a proposal to formally embrace same-sex weddings and gay clergy in a 449-374 vote.
The primary proposal, called the “One Church Plan,” was rebuffed in a separate preliminary vote, getting only 47 percent support. Backed by a majority of the church’s Council of Bishops in hopes of avoiding a schism, it would have left decisions about same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy up to regional bodies and would remove language from the church’s law book asserting that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
The church is teetering on the brink of a break up after more than half its delegates initially voted to maintain bans on same-sex weddings, driving supporters of LGBT inclusion to leave America’s second-largest Protestant denomination.
A final vote for the “Traditional Plan,” which calls for keeping the LGBT bans and enforcing them more strictly, is yet to take place today. More than 800 delegates are attending the three-day conference in St. Louis.
With files from the Associated Press
Rev. Sandra Olewine, reverend at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena; she’s a voting delegate at the conference in St. Louis today