Monday, March 5, 2007

Karen Dammann

Rev. Karen Dammann is an out of the closet lesbian in the United Methodist Church. She came out and was immediately suspended under section 304.3 which conservatives viewed as banning self-avowed practicing homosexuals. "Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."

UMC juries however were being extremely strict in their interpretation. Arguing that the prosecution had not proven practice, she was in a committed relationship with a "partner" but there was no evidence presented of sexual activity, the jury found not guilty. An example of a successful force a more specific charge defense. Other juries had similarly taken strict lines on ministers which had performed gay marriages arguing that the rules only prohibited performing civil unions. Many insiders, as well as some outsiders held this was essentially jury nullification. Conservatives responed by changing the wording slightly. To some extent making homosexuality (itself not the practice) incompatible with Christian teaching (ref1 ref2). That is the rules were actually strengthened. Further this dissension led to discussion of splitting the denomination.

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