Gays and Lesbians







In 1980 Melvin E. Wheatley, Jr., became the first United Methodist bishop to refuse to sign the Episcopal Address to a quadrennial General Conference, because it had a statement excluding homosexual persons. Shortly thereafter he summarized his reason for refusing to sign the statement:

"Homosexuality, quite like heterosexuality, is neither a virtue nor an accomplishment. It is a mysterious gift of God's grace communicated through an exceedingly complex set of chemical, biological, chromosomal, hormonal, environmental, developmental factors totally outside my homosexual friend's control. His or her homosexuality is a gift—neither a virtue nor a sin. What she/he does with their homosexuality, however, is their personal, moral, and spiritual responsibility. Their behavior as a homosexual may therefore be very sinful—brutal, exploitative, selfish, promiscuous, superficial. Their behavior on the other hand, may be beautiful—tender, considerate, loyal, other-centered, profound."

Bishop Wheatley made his statement in Denver on October 12, 1981.