United Methodist ‘Bishop’ Refuses to Hold Ministers Accountable for Performing Same-Sex ‘Weddings’

McLee Credit New York ConferenceWHITE PLAINS, NY — The head of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church has ended the church trial of a minister who officiated his son’s same-sex “wedding,” and is now vowing to end all future trials in the region.

“Church trials produce no winners,” Martin D. McLee told reporters on Monday. “[They] result in harmful polarization and continue the harm brought upon our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

As previously reported, Thomas Ogletree, 80, was set to stand trial today at the First United Methodist Church of Stanford following complaints filed by fellow clergy who accused him of violating church doctrine. Ogletree, a retired United Methodist minister and former Yale Divinity School Dean, had officiated his son’s same-sex “wedding” in 2012 against the Book of Discipline.

The Book outlines that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” may not be ordained as ministers in the denomination. It also forbids ministers from hosting or participating in “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions.”


“I could not with any integrity as a Christian refuse my son’s request to preside at his wedding,” he said in a statement in January. “It is a shame that the church is choosing to prosecute me for this act of love, which is entirely in keeping with my ordination vows to ‘seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people’ and with Methodism’s historic commitment to inclusive ministry embodied in its slogan ‘open hearts, open minds, open doors.’”

Ogletree is one of three United Methodist ministers–all from New York–who were to face church trials this year for violating Church doctrine. Stephen Heiss of Binghamton was likewise accused of officiating same-sex ceremonies, and Sara Thompson Tweedy of White Plains was charged with coming out as an avowed and practicing lesbian.

“The Bible has some wonderful parts to it, but they’re dated, and right now it’s time to quit asking gay people to sit at the back of the bus,” Heiss told reporters last year.

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According to the New York Times, McLee dropped the charges against Ogletree on Monday under the stipulation that he engage in dialogue on matters of sexuality and the Church. He asserted that his decision to end trials against Methodist ministers would promote healing within the denomination, but others opined that it would result in an inevitable split.

“The impact of this settlement today will be that faithful United Methodists who support the church’s teachings will be ignored,” Randall C. Paige and Roy E. Jacobsen, the two pastors who had filed the complaint against Ogletree, said in a statement this week. “Far from avoiding schism, today’s settlement increases the probability that schism will take place.”

Ogletree has expressed no repentance for his actions. In being asked following McLee’s decision whether he would perform another same-sex “wedding,” he replied “Sure.”

The matter follows last year’s high-profile hearing in Pennsylvania involving Frank Schaefer of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona. As previously reported, Schaefer had been found guilty of violating church law and was given 30 days to repent of officiating his son’s “wedding,” but as three of his four children are homosexual, he refused. As he would not voluntarily surrender his credentials, he was defrocked.

Photo: New York Conference

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  • Mary Waterton

    The Holy Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. (1-Timothy 4:1)

    “Sodomite marriage” qualifies as a doctrine of demons. If your church or pastor is teaching the acceptability of this lifestyle … flee.

  • Webb

    So that makes it official: the UMC is no longer a Christian church. It’s totally apostate and its leaders couldn’t care less. The godless liberals have been allowed to hijack the church. They need to remove the word “church” from its name, as does the ELCA and other apostate religious groups.

  • Jm

    Webb..there are many of us in the UMC and in NY that do not agree, Please pray for us. Most Methodist agree…Please Webb..we are not all like this.

  • Sir Tainly

    Who said,”God desires mercy and not judgment.”?

    Here is a hint, it was not Karl Marx, president Obama, or the Dalai Lama.

    • Sir Tainly

      OK…OK…I could have done better than that last quote!

      Compare this:
      “For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet faileth in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also, Thou shalt not kill. Now though thou doest none adultery, yet if thou killest, thou art a transgressor of the Law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judgeth by the Law of liberty.
      13 For there shall be condemnation merciless to him that showeth not mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against condemnation.

      WITH THIS:
      Now Moses in our Law commanded, that such should be stoned: what sayest thou therefore?
      And this they said to tempt him, that they might have, whereof to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground,
      And while they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, Let him that is among you without sin, cast the first stone at her.
      And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

  • brother_roger

    It is time for our “Untied” church to admit we are too divided to continue and allow those who conscientiously object to the blatant failure of episcopal leadership to seek another alternative. Churches all over America are fed up with our failure to uphold Scripture and are willing to leave and join another denomination or become independent.