ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — The debate over same-sex marriage is dividing members of the clergy within the United Methodist Church.

During their annual conference in St. Cloud, dozens of Minnesota United Methodist clergy signed a statement saying they would marry any couple who came to them, including same-sex couples.

Reverend Bruce Robbins of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis says initially had about a dozen of his colleagues signed the statement, but by Wednesday night, that number had grown to 40. The statement isn’t part of the annual conference.

Bishop Sally Dyck says the statement doesn’t break church rules. However, she says the church discipline forbids same-sex marriage, and clergy who perform the ceremonies could lose their conference membership, or clergy credentials.

WJON reports about 900 voting members are attending the conference in St. Cloud this week.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (32)
  1. James says:

    The division is exactly what the amendment is supposed to do. And this is just the beginning of a long, demeaning, process. The Party of NO could have created Civil Unions, but no, we have to suffer instead. Thanks alot!

    1. John Frykman says:

      Someone has to say “no” when a vocal minority claims the “right” to be married to another of the same sex. I love my dog. Should I be allowed to marry him? I love my sister. Should we be allowed to get married. I love barbecued ribs….

      Traditional marriage is not merely a statement of commitment. It is the foundation of the family, which is the foundation of all civilizations. Gay marriage is a bad idea for the same reason bigamy is.

      What two consulting adults do in private, as long is it harms no one, is there business. You will not get respect from heterosexuals by trying to jam this gay marriage nonsense down their throats.

      Any “legal” rights of partners in a non-marital partnership can have all the so-called privileges of marriage by contract.

  2. JMJ says:

    I personally do not have a problem with same-gender marriages. But if it is passed part of the law should state that you CAN NOT sue someone who will not marry you do to their personal beliefs. If you speak of tolerance, remember it is a two way street.

    1. stace34 says:

      How many law suits have been brought against churchs today that refuse to marry couples? Will the law only apply to same sex couples or also if the clergey takes offence to interracial, interfaith or if they just don’t like them? Nithing requires churchs or clergy to perform marriages today so why do you assume that would change?

      1. JMJ says:

        Because a mixed couple down south already sued a minister. So before you speak please do your research. And yes it should apply for any reason. Why would you want to have somone marry you, who is not happy for you?

        1. stace34 says:

          And it was right for this minister to deny these people their right to marry based on his racist views. Great example you brought. And it wasn’t a minister it was a JP huge difference. Minister is religous and JP is a civil servent.

          1. JMJ says:

            Just because you don’t agree with someones views doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to them. I believe in God, the bible and freedom. I also believe god created all people different to test us. And see if we can love everything and everyone he created. I also feel sorry for you, because you seem to be a very unhappy person who wants to argue and not have open discussions. The world is not a perfect place and taking people to court is not the answer. Also you didn’t answer my question up above.

  3. jeff says:

    and you would probably marry your first cousin over in wisconsin. have you ever had anyone preform oral sex on you? that is about as natural as slamming dinner back up.

  4. tuna-free dolphin says:

    The clergy is divided among those who base their doctrine on scripture and those who don’t. It really is that simple. Whether or not you or I think it’s OK, there’s really no debate that scripture condemns it. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. Carl says:

      And to the extent your archaic and myth-filled scripture says anything we are all protected from its imposition by the first clause of the First Amendment. Thank you for proving your opposition’s point.

      Praise Jebus, God hates bright people, Amen.

      1. Jake says:

        Seems Carl is safe from God’s wrath, then. I’m pretty sure the First Amendment doesn’t apply to the United Methodist Church’s ability to determine who is credentialed to act as clergy (except to the extent it would prevent the likes of Carl from using government to compel all churches to accept Carl’s ever-so-enlightened view that their doctrine is “archaic and myth-filled”). My goodness, Carl, is remarkably smug despite a body of remarkably off-point and fairly unimpressive sarcastic responses.

        If Carl’s intent is to impress himself and those who already aggressively agree with him, there’s a ship with a “Mission Accomplished” banner waiting for his photo shoot. If it’s to engage the debate in a meaningful way, well, I’m sure God loves the miserably unsuccessful, too.

        1. Carl says:

          One can defend most anything from genocide to incest with scripture. So the SSM debate will not be solved within any sect’s scriptural interpretations for America or the Methodists. I’ll stick with a facts based approach to life and encourage our government to do the same. BTW, that “Mission Accomplished” banner was hung for a self-deluded evangelical speaking in contradiction to the facts. Or is that redundant?

          Praise Jebus, God hates the enlightenment, Amen.

          1. Jake says:

            Alas, what’s the point of trying to keep the discussion on point? There are times you might consider putting the talking-point flashcards away and look at what the issue raised by the story actually is. Basically, if the United Methodist Church believes in the Scripture you find so offensive (or at least “interprets” it in a way you dislike), then don’t be a member. To the extent some clergy decide they do not like a certain interpretation or would prefer to ignore a precept (or tradition), whether based on their belief or for populartity’s sake or whatever, they are certainly within their right to seek the change in the UM teaching about or acknowledgement of the addition same-sex relationships to the definition of marriage. However, it becomes a bit of a Blackmunesque change in the way that church views scripture. Do your best to understand this debate relates to the interpretation for this church, not for all of America, as you seem to believe.

            Expectedly, you missed the irony of the banner reference. You and W have a lot more in common than you would ever be willing to accept. God loves the obtuse, even those who can whip out big words without regard to their efficacy.

    2. markH says:

      Perhaps, but just keep in mind that “scripture” may also pertain to the Book Of Mormon, Hadith, Q’uran, Torah, etc. I am assuming your reference to be the Bible, but that’s just my assumption. It seems every monotheism has a personal book which was either “inspired” or dictated by the creator of all; to avoid confusion, let’s just be specific and use the term “Biblical scriptures.” Peace.

    3. stace34 says:

      You mean some peoples interpretation of the scripture. If you take every word out of the bible as “law” then we would be stoning the employees who work on the Sabbath, condemning people for wearing blended cloths, and putting non virgin brides to death. So who gets to decide what part of the scripture we follow and what part we interpret differently? Because either it is in the bible and we follow it, or the book is open to interpretation.

      1. Mr. M says:

        Well I say lets have Betty Bowers set things straight for the holy rollers who “Live by the Bible” … what a bunch of hypocrites.

    4. jim says:

      Is this in reference to the same god who sanctioned Lot’s daughters getting Lot drunk and then having incestuous sex with him? Genesis 19:30-38

    5. James says:

      Scripture also comdemns shrimp. Do you eat it? The 10 Commandments say we must keep the Sabbath day, and yet I bet you go to church on Sunday, the 1st day of the week. Why does everyone eat ham on Easter when it’s clearly forbidden? How many of these do you do tuna-free?

    6. Superchik1017 says:

      Scripture also condems wearing two different fabrics, having intervourse with your wife while she’s mentruating (Leviticus 15), working on the sabbath day, eating pork, rabit. I also hope you don’t eat squid or anything else that doesn’t have scales and lives in the water, because according to the Bible, “…they are detestable things to you” (Leviticus 11:10 & Leviticus 11:12). So you’re right tuna, they can’t have it both ways.

    7. CJ says:

      It really is that simple. AMEN!

  5. Carl says:

    On a brighter note, I don’t believe any proponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) are suggesting that any specific sect or religious leader be required to perform SSMs. There are already plenty who have volunteered for the cause and rite. Suggesting otherwise is ignorant or fear mongering, either way not Christ-like in method or goal.

    Praise Jebus, God hates supporting evidence, Amen.

    1. Dave says:

      “Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.” – Romans 1:22

      You better buy an asbestos suit, Carl.

      1. jim says:

        isn’t that out of the book with the god who sanctioned Lot’s daughters getting Lot drunk and then having incestuous sex with him? Genesis 19:30-38

      2. Good Ol Boy says:

        There is only one person in the “bible” that we can scientifically prove was actually on this planet, and that is Pontius Pilate.

        1. factdealer says:

          Eastside Evil @Gay old boy your comments are not useful. mr 100k

  6. Good Ol Boy says:

    Marriage isn’t a sexual act, sir.

  7. Mr. M says:

    How rediculous. A gay based marriage ouf of love from two constenting adults doesn’t harm anyone other than the idiots who clinge so desperately to their one little Bible rule that it is somehow wrong. We simply don’t and CANNOT live by ALL THE RULES of the frick’n bible which is grossly outdated for our today’s society anyways.

    Operate from YOUR OWN POWER of not having a gay marriage or even going to one but by all means don’t expect your one little rule to dictate the life of others. How dare they try and punish or reject anyone who is trying to bring humans together in a union of love. Are they anti-love then? Lets live in a world of tolerance, kindness, love and a touch more acceptance of people who peacefully would like to have the OPTION, just like straights, to love another human being regardless of the sex organs between their legs. Two SOULS brought together in love. How on earth can that be wrong? It’s not wrong. It’s wonderful. Good grief people WAKE UP and GET OVER IT. There is no threat from a gay marriage. Focus your energy on making the world a better place with the much bigger issues or the issues about those who are killing or abusing other in this world. I’d like to live in a world where my kids can have the basic right and option to marry who they choose out of love and not be restricted to have that union of love. Options, yes. Restrictions, No… especially when it’s a harmless union of love.

    1. John Frykman says:

      Marriage is not only a religious rite, sir. It is recognition by the state that a married couple shall be treated differently by LAW than two individuals. It has nothing to do with the mechanics of sexual intercourse. No one is depriving you of what you do in your bedroom, i.e., anal sex, fisting, s & m, “water sports” etc. Knock yourself out. Have a ball. Get pregnant. (?)

      Just don’t call it marriage and expect it to be dignified by the term “marriage.”

  8. Mr. M says:

    I think Betty Bowers can clear this up once and for all. SHEESH

    1. Carl says:

      Wonderful! Betty knows her Lord. Welcome to Jesus Land, I mean the USA.

      Praise Jebus, God hates the tree of knowledge, Amen.

  9. Dave says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Mr M. I am Methodist and right now not so proud of it

    1. John Frykman says:

      Then why not join another church that allows you to do what you like? The Mormons until recently were OK with bigamy. Maybe there is a church that allows group marriage or incest. I’m sure you can find one if you look hard enough. Probably one that thinks membership in NAMBLA is sufficient rational to join men and boys in Holy Matrimony, too.

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