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United Methodists have ended a longstanding prohibition on LGBTQ clergy

David Meredith, Jan Lawrence reacts after the approval (Via Kane Maini/Shutterstock)

United Methodist leaders lifted their church’s long-standing prohibition on LGBTQ clergy without debate on Wednesday. The rule that had barred “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from becoming ministers was overturned by a vote of 692-51 at their General Conference, the first such meeting in five years. This marks a significant shift after years of contentious discussions.

Previous conferences had reinforced the ban amid debates and protests, but many conservatives who supported it have since left the denomination. The current General Conference has taken a more progressive stance.

David Meredith hugs his fellows (Via Dale Smith/Shutterstock)

There was applause and emotional reactions in the convention hall after the vote, with LGBTQ advocacy groups celebrating the decision. The change doesn’t require LGBTQ clergy but removes the previous prohibition against them. It’s likely to affect mainly U.S. churches, as different regions like those in Africa can still set their own rules.

The new rule takes effect immediately after the General Conference ends on Friday. The broad support for the change led to its inclusion in a group of uncontroversial measures known as a “consent calendar.”

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