The United Methodist Church is expected to split over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ inclusion and create a new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination.
Leaders of the nation’s third-largest denomination said Friday that the United Methodist Church will begin allowing same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy, while “traditionalist” Methodists, who oppose gay marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy, will create a separate denomination, The Washington Post reported.
Before this announcement, the United Methodist Church is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the U.S., and the only Protestant denomination that has yet to allow same-sex marriages and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy.
The proposed plan, referred to as the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, comes after decades of fighting over sexuality, including whether to lift the denomination’s ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy.
The initiative represents “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding, while recognizing the dignity, equality, integrity, and respect of every person,” the writers of the plan said. Local churches will be required to vote to join the traditionalist faction within a specific time frame.
Churches would need to vote if they wanted to join the new denomination, but not if they wanted to remain a part of the United Methodist Church.
In May, the remaining United Methodist churches will then hold a conference to remove the ban on same-sex marriages and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy.