Key questions in the Oliveto case
On July 15, 2016, during the session of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, Dixie Brewster, a delegate and lay member of the Great Plains Annual Conference, asked that the delegates to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on the following matter:
“Is the nomination, election, consecration, and/or assignment as a bishop of The United Methodist Church of a person who claims to be a ‘self-avowed practicing homosexual’ or is a spouse in a same-sex marriage lawful under The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church?”
Specifically, Brewster wanted to know how United Methodism’s standards on ordination and same-sex marriage applied to the nomination, election, consecration and/or assignment as bishop of a person who claims to be a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” or is a spouse in a same-sex marriage or civil union?
In her motion, Brewster asked some key questions:
• Does a public record that a nominee for the episcopacy is a spouse in a same-sex marriage disqualify that person from nomination, election, consecration and/or assignment as a bishop in The United Methodist Church?
• If a jurisdictional conference nominates, elects, consecrates, and /or assigns a person who, by virtue of being legally married or in a civil union under civil law to a same-sex partner, would be subject to a chargeable offense, is the action of the jurisdictional conference null and void?
• Is it lawful for one or more of the bishops of a jurisdiction to consecrate a person as bishop when the bishop-elect is known by public record to be a spouse in a same-sex marriage or civil union?
• When a bishop, district superintendent, district committee on ordained ministry, Board of Ordained Ministry, or clergy session becomes aware of or is made aware that a clergy person is a spouse in a same sex marriage or civil union of public record, does such information in effect and in fact amount to a self-avowal of the practice of homosexuality as set forth in the Discipline and related Judicial Council decisions?
The motion made by Brewster was seconded and then adopted by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference by a vote of 109 for the motion to 84 against the motion, a 56.48 percent majority.
The United Methodist Judicial Council will hear the oral arguments of the case on April 25, 2017.
To read the brief on behalf the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops click HERE.
To read the brief on behalf of Ms. Dixie Brewster, the South Central Jurisdiction lay delegate who made the motion requesting the declaratory decision, click HERE.
To read a reply to the brief on behalf the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops click HERE.