I have received many questions from United Methodists about the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Indiana, known as House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6). People have asked, “What is the position of our United Methodist Church on this issue?” Of course the only official group which can speak for all United Methodists is our General Conference, and they have not dealt specifically with HRJ-6, but the General Conference has included in our Social Principles two affirmations which speak to these issues: (1) our UMC affirms that marriage is "between a man and a woman,” and (2) our UMC affirms the need for all persons to have equal civil rights. These two affirmations cause me to advise that HJC-6 is not something which United Methodists should support. Here are my reasons:
So, while I cannot speak for the General Conference or our whole denomination, my own advice is that HRJ-6 is a bad idea and not worthy of the Indiana General Assembly spending time and energy on it. If HRJ-6 were to pass this legislature, then it would go to the citizens of Indiana for a referendum, and I can only imagine how ugly that might become with lots of outside political groups (on all sides of this issue) deluging our state with ads and activities. We don't need that.
We do need to have serious discussions about the meaning of marriage, about the problems of divorce and infidelity among heterosexuals, and about the issue of homosexuality – but let's have that discussion in a serious and theological manner. Debating a problematic and politically-charged constitutional amendment is not the way to have those discussions.