What is the denomination's position on homosexuality?
Only the General Conference speaks for The United Methodist Church. When the lay and clergy delegates to General Conference approve a statement, it is published in the Book of Discipline and/or the Book of Resolutions. These words come from the people of The United Methodist Church.
From the Social Principles
Other related statements include:
Regarding church membership
¶ 4. Article IV. Inclusiveness of the Church
The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status,4 or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection.5 In The United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constituent body of the Church because of race, color, national origin, status or economic condition.6
4. Amended 1992.
5. Amended 2000.
6. See Judicial Council Decisions 242, 246, 340, 351, 362, 377, 398, 594, 601, and Decisions 4 and 5, Interim Judicial Council.
¶ 214. Eligibility
The United Methodist Church is a part of the holy catholic (universal) church, as we confess in the Apostles' Creed. In the church, Jesus Christ is proclaimed and professed as Lord and Savior. All people may attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments and become members in any local church in the connection (¶ 4). In the case of persons whose disabilities prevent them from reciting the vows, their legal guardian[s], themselves members in full covenant relationship with God and the Church, the community of faith, may recite the appropriate vows on their behalf.
While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals1 are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.2
1. "Self-avowed practicing homosexual" is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual. See Judicial Council Decisions 702, 708, 722, 725, 764, 844, 984.
2. See Judicial Council Decisions 984, 985.
Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.
Regarding the General Council on Finance and Administration
[The General Council on Finance and Administration] shall be responsible for ensuring that no board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or violate the expressed commitment of The United Methodist Church "not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends" (¶ 161.F). The council shall have the right to stop such expenditures.19 This restriction shall not limit the Church’s ministry in response to the HIV epidemic.
19. See Judicial Council Decisions 491, 597.
(From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.)
From the 2008 Book of Resolutions
Church to Be in Ministry to Persons of All Sexual Orientations
Rights of All Persons
Opposition to Homophobia and Heterosexism
Report of the Task Force on Homosexuality and the Unity of the Church