The Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church has rejected a ruling from the denomination’s highest court calling for an openly lesbian bishop to be removed from office.
Earlier this year, the United Methodist Judicial Council ruled 6–3 that the election of Karen Oliveto as bishop violated Church law, specifically the ban on ordaining non-celibate homosexuals.
In a statement posted on their website Wednesday, the Western Jurisdiction argued that the Judicial Council “exceeded its authority” with their ruling and announced that they petitioned the high court on Monday to “reconsider” their decision.
Richard Marsh, counsel to the Western Jurisdiction, said in a statement that the brief was meant to help advance acceptance of the LGBT community within the church.
“The Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops believes it has an obligation to the wider LGBTQ community within the Church and beyond to point out the fundamental errors contained in this decision,” stated Marsh.
In the brief, Marsh argued that Oliveto being in a same-sex marriage did not necessarily make her a “self-avowed practicing homosexual,” which is the specific group the Book of Discipline says cannot be ordained.
“The Judicial Council is without authority to expand the list of chargeable offenses. Only the General Conference can declare that same gender marriage is a chargeable offense, and it has not done so despite opportunity,” argued the brief.
In late April, the United Methodist Judicial Council ruled that the election of Oliveto to the positon of bishop over the Mountain Sky Area violated Church law.
“Under the long-standing principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore, or negate Church law. It is not lawful for the college of bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop,” read the decision.
SOURCE: The Christian Post – Michael Gryboski