Methodist Bishop and Pastor Face Repercussions for Performing Same-Sex Marriage

Methodist Bishop and Pastor Face Repercussions for Performing Same-Sex Marriage

Two Methodist church leaders may face church disciplinary procedures for officiating a same-sex marriage, despite the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) official stance against gay marriage.

Christian Today reports that Bishop Melvin Talbert and Pastor Val Rosenquist officiated at the marriage service for Jim Wilborne and John Romano. 

Although many within the UMC advocate for changing the church’s policy on same-sex marriage, the church’s official position is still not in favor of it.

Because Talbert and Rosenquist’s actions go against the UMC’s Book of Discipline, they could face repercussions and be subject to church discipline.

Both church leaders say that they were acting according to their convictions and even according to the Bible.

Melvin called his stance an act of “biblical obedience,” adding that "Discrimination is discrimination, no matter where it is, and it's wrong. I hope that what we did here yesterday will be an act of evangelism for people...who are looking for safe places to come because they don't want to be identified with anti-gay [sentiment]."

Melvin said he and Rosenquist are willing to face whatever consequences may come.

"Your pastor could have complaints filed against her, and I could, too,” said Melvin. “But it's the right thing to do. If it costs us, if there are consequences, so let it be."

Melvin has been a civil rights activist for years. In the 1960’s he even shared a jail cell with Martin Luther King, Jr. He is now 81.

A statement from the office of Bishop Larry Goodpastor, who leads the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC, said: "We are aware of the wedding at First United Methodist Church on Saturday. Bishop Goodpaster will follow the procedures in The Book of Discipline if a formal complaint is filed."

Publication date: April 25, 2016