The United Methodist Church's highest
court on Friday ruled that an openly gay bishop's consecration
violated church law.
The bishop, Karen P. Oliveto of Denver,
who is married to Robin Ridenour, was elected last year to lead a
region that is part of the Methodist Western Jurisdiction.
The church's Judicial Council ruled 6-3
that her ascension defied the church's lawbook, which bans openly gay
“Under the longstanding principle of
legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or
negate church law,” the court wrote. “It is not lawful for the
College of Bishops of any jurisdiction or central conference to
consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.”
The court offered supporters a glimmer
of hope, saying that Oliveto “remains in good standing” and could
keep her job pending further proceedings.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, said in a statement that it
was “disappointed that the UMC did not honor” the decision of the
church's Western Jurisdiction.
Oliveto's election was challenged by
the church's South Central Jurisdiction.
A movement to change church law to
allow same-sex marriages and openly gay clergy has majority support
among delegates in the United States, but they have been outnumbered
by conservative delegates from Africa and Asia, The New York Times