United Methodist Church leaders are proposing a split into more than one denomination in a bid to resolve years of debate over LGBT clergy and same-sex weddings, according to the church’s official news agency.

The proposal, from a 16-member group of bishops and church leaders, says a separation was “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 restructuring comes after a contentious General Conference of the second-largest Protestant denomination in the US voted last year
New York Conference Bishop Thomas Bickerton, part of the group behind the proposal, told the official United Methodist News Service that
heated debate at the conference demonstrated “the line in the sand had turned into a canyon.”
The new proposal calls for a traditionalist Methodist denomination opposed to gay marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy. A spinoff
denomination would allow same-sex weddings and gay clergy.

Split mirrors US cultural and political divide, bishop says

William Willimon, a Duke Divinity School professor and bishop in the United Methodist Church, said the split mirrors the current US cultural
and political divide.
“A set of complex church issues were reduced to a showdown between the left and the right, ‘progressives’ and ‘traditionalists,'” he said in
a statement.
“Both factions love their take on the issues more than the continuance of the United Methodist Church. The bishops — unable to lead
continuing discussion of our differences — have now decided that the best they can do is to oversee church disintegration.”
The Human Rights Campaign, an influential LGBT advocacy organization, called the schism an “opportunity for the Church to make
amends and reconcile with its LGBTQ family.”
“Ultimately, the Church’s decision to split leaves many LGBTQ Methodists who want to be fully included in the life of the Church in limbo,
trying to determine their place in a Church that has still not embraced them,” Michael Vazquez, HRC religion and faith program director,
said in a statement.
“The impasse is such that we have come to the realization that we just can’t stay that way any longer,” he said.
At the St. Louis conference in February, the denomination decided that United Methodist churches and clergy could face removal if they did