In a significant move toward a possible future change to United Methodist Church’s doctrine and discipline, the Pacific Northwest Conference’s 2016 Annual Conference voted for non-conformity to the Book of Discipline’s mandates proscribing gay marriage, gay ministers, and the disbursement of funds toward gay causes. In effect, the measure declares that the PNW Conference will not participate in any judicial or disciplinary actions against those who violate these laws enumerated within the Book of Discipline. This represents a strong departure from doctrine.
The subject of homosexuality has in the United Methodist Church traditionally brought decades of internal conflict within the Church from parishioners, clergy, bishops, and the various conferences; especially since the choices in the row have been polar in nature–either the status quo or to completely allow acceptance of homosexuality. The non-conformity action might finally offer a middle ground for the Church Community to move closer to that of society and of the secular laws.
In April 2013 our host published an article featuring Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson had sued Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts after she had refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding.
Washington’s consumer protection act bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation AG Ferguson sought a $2000 penalty for each violation and to end the business’ allegedly discriminatory practices. The case garnered considerable attention in both the state and nationally in which the religious rights of business owners do not necessarily comport in some cases with antidiscrimination statutes which require equal services be provided for all customers.
With all constituencies reporting, the Irish citizenry approved a constitutional amendment recognizing gay marriage: Yes 1,201,607; No 734,300.
The Constitution of Ireland permits amendment only by popular vote. A vote of the people for such amendments can provide more legitimacy and acceptance by the public and judging by the margin gay marriage will probably gain acceptance more readily. Nevertheless it does not necessarily engender full acceptance of such partnerships as over seven hundred thousand voters chose otherwise. Some institutions in Irish society will struggle to come to terms with the new direction Ireland is pursuing.
On Friday Irish Citizens went to the polls to vote by referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing same-sex marriage. If passed Ireland will join nineteen other nation states who have legalized such marriages and will be the first to enact the petition by popular referendum.
The topic of the referendum garnered such strong interest it is expected that a large percentage of Ireland’s 3.2 million registered voters will go to the polls. In fact, reportedly, unexpectedly high numbers returned home at their personal expense to cast votes.
We previously wrote HERE of Richland, Washington Florist Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, who caused a row when she refused to provide her floral services for a gay wedding. Now, a Benton County Superior Court Judge ruled that she violated the state’s consumer protection act that bars discrimination against a protected class.
The legal action was brought by customer Robert Ingersoll and the Washington Attorney General’s Office.
June 30th, 2014 will mark a significant change in nomenclature and status for same sex couples who had previously registered their domestic partnership starting in 2012. After this date, these couples’ status will change automatically to “married.” This presents an opportunity to become married without the administrative overhead of now filing for a marriage license. Couples after June 30th who enter into a union will be considered married.
Mark Zmuda announced he is suing Eastside Catholic school and the Seattle Archdioceses for wrongful termination after he legally married his male partner. The case stems from his employment as vice-principal to the school was satisfactory for years and that after he announced he had married his male partner, he was given an ultimatum to divorce his spouse or his employment with the school would be terminated. Mark refused to divorce and was fired.