West Lafayette, Indiana - Members of the United Methodist Church General Conference met in a special session in February and voted narrowly in favor of the “traditional plan,” which reinforces the church’s ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage. The denomination’s Judicial Council is expected to meet in April to decide whether the plan is constitutional based on the church’s Book of Discipline.

Dan Olson, a sociologist of religion at Purdue University, specializes in American religion, particularly Protestantism stated, “Many of the representatives attending the special session came from the southern hemisphere – in some of those are countries, homosexuality is a crime. In the United States, however, the majority of Methodist laypeople support same-sex marriage. According to a recent Pew survey, about 60 percent of Methodists in the U.S. said that they favored same-sex marriage. If you look at survey data, this is true not only for churchgoers, but also for the U.S. as a whole: The rate of shift in attitudes on homosexuality has been extremely rapid.”