Delegates at the United Methodist Church’s General Conference voted Wednesday to adhere to the church’s position that marriage should not include same-sex unions and that homosexual acts are not compatible with Christian teaching.
Those guidelines are included in church’s Social Principles, which do not have the force of church law but are to instruct the denomination’s 11 million members. The nearly 1,000 delegates at the international conference at the Fort Worth Convention Center are struggling with social issues at the conference that ends Friday.
While affirming the existing guidelines about sexuality, delegates also approved a resolution Wednesday opposing homophobia.
Numerous delegates at the crowded session spoke into microphones placed around the convention center floor. One man from Africa said that “we love homosexuals, but we detest what they do.”
Others said condemnation of homosexual behavior conflicts with Jesus’ message of love and acceptance.
The church must guard against “denying companionship and intimacy in loving relationships just because there are differences of understanding,” a Texas pastor said.