5 Reactions to the United Methodist Church's Ruling Against Lesbian Bishop

Karen Oliveto
Bishop Karen Oliveto of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church commenting in a video posted April 4, 2017, on an upcoming United Methodist Judicial Council case that will determine whether she can remain a bishop. |

The United Methodist Church's highest court ruled late Friday that the election of a practicing lesbian to the position of bishop was a violation of Church law.

The Judicial Council ruled 6–3 that the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto by the UMC Western Jurisdiction was against Church law, specifically the ban on noncelibate homosexual clergy.

While the decision does not immediately remove Oliveto from her position as bishop, it does call for her removal from the church office.

"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, as reported by the United Methodist News Service.

"Under the long-standing principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate Church law."

The Oliveto complaint was a closely watched case, since it reflected the intense debate within the UMC over the Mainline Protestant denomination's official stance against homosexuality and gay marriage.

Here are five reactions to the Judicial Council's ruling. They range from UMC leadership to both sides of the contentious debate over sexual ethics.

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