CRYSTAL LAKE - The Illinois Republican Party isn't the only organization dealing with divisions over same sex marriage. Despite the United Methodist Church's 2004 statement supporting the definition of one mand and one woman being accepted by 77 percent of the church officials, their Northern Illinois Conference Bishop Sally Dyck rejected the majority opinion and encouraged Illinois lawmakers to legalize same sex marriage.
As McHenry County Blog reports, Bishop Dyck wrote:
While the United Methodist Church holds that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, it also holds the teaching and a long tradition (albeit a struggle every inch of the way) of civil rights. Marriage equality is a civil rights issue; it provides for all what is afforded to some.
The marriage equality act in Illinois does not bind anyone who is licensed by the state to perform marriages to perform a marriage for a same-sex couple (as no one can bind us to perform a marriage for a heterosexual couple). In fact, even though I support this legislation, I can’t perform a same-sex marriage as a United Methodist clergy person and as the bishop I can’t give permission to any other clergy to do the same. But just because I can’t provide the service of marriage to same-sex couples doesn’t mean that I should prevent people from being able to commit their lives to each other in the State of Illinois.
Therefore, I believe it is to the benefit of our families, communities and the state of Illinois for the Marriage Equality Bill to become law in our state. Not all United Methodists will agree with my belief on marriage and they are entitled to their own belief. Because I believe in marriage, it’s my belief it will be a benefit for this law to pass.
Good News, an independent Methodist organization strongly disagreed with the Bishop, and didn't hesitate to make their opinion public:
... However, we believe that for Bishop Dyck to advocate a minority position that is at odds with the stated position of the church fosters disunity and deepens the sense of disconnect felt by many United Methodist members.
In 2011, more than 14,000 United Methodists signed a letter to the Council of Bishops asking them to support the denomination’s position on same sex marriage. The Council issued a statement of support.
Bishop Dyck’s advocacy flies in the face of the Council’s statement.
We share Bishop Dyck’s commitment to ensure the protection of the civil rights of all persons.
However, there are other ways to ensure the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons without redefining the bedrock institution of marriage.
We see no reason why the church should allow a secular, anthropocentric, hyper-sexualized Western culture to tell us what marriage is, rather than looking to the Scriptures and, with real concern for the rights of all, maintaining what God has revealed.