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Methodist Top Court Upholds Policy of Domestic Partner Benefits

"We betray our calling as the Body of Christ by failing to uphold what Christ taught and what His Church has always proclaimed." -- John Lomperis, UMAction Director

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- United Methodism's top court has upheld the church's financial agency's policy of granting spousal benefits to same-sex spouses and unmarried opposite-sex domestic partners of church agency employees in states where those domestic arrangements have legal recognition.

United Methodism officially approves of sex only between a man and woman married to each other. Persons sexually active outside natural marriage may not serve as clergy. There is currently no clear policy on lay church employees.

IRD's UMAction Program Director John Lomperis commented:

    "Of course the 2016 General Conference will have to legislate a remedy by establishing firmer employment restrictions and affirming spousal benefits exclusively for persons in natural marriage. Otherwise, United Methodist agencies are little different from any secular employer.

    "Biblical Christian teaching about the sacredness of marriage is central to the church's faith and practice. We betray our calling as the Body of Christ by failing to uphold what Christ taught and what His Church has always proclaimed.

    "The current policy, ratified non-unanimously and rather hastily by a small group of people in one church agency, declares to the world that United Methodist agency employees don't have to take seriously our church's identity and teachings. It suggests there is no higher standard of morality for our global church than the winds of U.S. politics. If we don't take our own standards and faith seriously, why should anybody else?"

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