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March-25-99

Methodist Bishop Files Complaint Over Lesbian Ceremony

Bishop Melvin Talbert has "with sorrow and regret" filed a complaint against the 69 ministers who participated in a "holy union" lesbian commitment ceremony last January in Sacramento. This complaint will be brought before a committee of clergy and lay people who will investigate the charges and decide whether or not the participants should face a church trial. If convicted, the 69 ministers named in the complaint could lose their status as Methodist ministers.

Talbert is himself opposed to the church's ban on same-sex commitment ceremonies, but was forced to file the complaint based on church law. Talbert has pledged to keep speaking out against his Church's position, saying "I will uphold the law, but I will not be silenced."

The Rev. Don Fado led the ceremony uniting Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton, which was attended by more than 1,000 ministers, lays leaders, lesbian and gay individuals, and others. "The fact that we had so many participate....was to make a statement to the church that it needs to re-evaluate this policy," said Fado. Ministers chanted the following blessing: "O God, our maker, we gladly proclaim to the world that Jeanne and Ellie are loving partners together for life." Fado later explained, "In our church, unfortunately, I'm allowed to come into their (Jeanne and Ellie's) home and bless their house, bless their car, bless their tractor and even bless their dog, but I am not allowed to bless them."

Media Resources: AP - March 23, 1999

   

     

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