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40 United Methodist Clergy Pledge To Marry Gay Couples

Commitment Ceremony
Creative Commons via Flickr user Marc Love

ST. CLOUD – The debate over same-sex marriage is dividing members of the clergy within the United Methodist Church.

During their annual conference in St. Cloud, about 40 Minnesota United Methodist clergy have 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 read the statement yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.  He said he initially had about a dozen of his colleagues sign the statement, by last night that number had grown to 40.  The statement was a voluntary action and not a part of the annual conference.

Meanwhile, Bishop Sally Dyck says the statement  itself does not break church rules. However, she says the church discipline does forbid same-sex marriage, and clergy who perform them could lose their conference membership, or clergy credentials.  Robbins says that won’t stop him from performing the ceremonies.

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About 900 voting members – half of whom are clergy – are at the conference in St. Cloud this week.

There are about 75,000 United Methodist members in Minnesota, in 365 churches.

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