Liberal Methodist churches withholding dues after denomination vote to ban LGBT-inclusive practices: report
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Some liberal United Methodist churches are reportedly withholding their dues to the main office of the denomination as part of a protest against a church-wide vote that strengthened denomination opposition to LGBTQ marriages and clergy.

Receipts for the church were down down 20 percent in March as some liberal churches withheld their dues, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported Saturday that the United Methodist Church is on a path toward a breakup following the vote at a conference in February, when delegates voted voted 438-384 to approve a proposal called the Traditional Plan, which tightened bans on LGBT-inclusive practices.

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The language affirmed in the vote prohibits “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from becoming ordained as ministers. The language also bars ministers from officiating same-sex marriages.

According to the AP, a majority of delegates based in the U.S. voted against the plan but were outnumbered by conservative U.S delegates who joined with Methodist strongholds from Africa and the Philippines to vote in favor of the plan.

“It’s time for some kind of separation, some kind of amicable divorce,” said James Howell, the pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, the AP reported.

Among the churches withholding payments is the Church of the Resurrection, the largest church, according to the AP. The lead pastor for the church, Adam Hamilton, told the AP that the church is temporarily not paying half of the $2.5 million that it normally gives the main office at this point in the year.

“We’ll ultimately pay it. But we want to show that this is the impact if our churches leave," he said.

A nine-member Judicial Council for the church will consider legal challenges to the Traditional Plan during a four-day meeting that beings Tuesday in Illinois. The plan is slated to take effect in the U.S. on Jan. 1 if it is upheld.

Churches would have to affirm their opposition to gay marriage and non-celibate LGBTQ clergy by 2021 under the new plan, or split from the denomination.

-Updated 9:22 a.m.