Bishop Sees Pro Same-Sex Marriage Stance as Way for People to Start Attending Church

(Photo Credit: Mike DuBose)United Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck speaks during the pre-General Conference news briefing at the Tampa Convention Center in Florida in April 2012.

Chicago Area United Methodist Church Bishop Sally Dyck, who recently expressed her support for same-sex marriage, says she has received responses for and against her position, but notes resonses from people with no religious affiliation supporting her could indicate an openness for them visit church, and adding that she is concerned people in serial relationships, despite their sexuality, are a concern for society.

The bishop, who is in charge of the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Confrence, said she has received notes from people for and against her position, including the support from so-called 'nones.' She said last week she would back legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage.

The contentious issue also drew a call from an interfaith group of local religious leaders which called for lawmakers to not make changes in the state's definition of marriage. A separate group of religious leaders signed an open letter endorsing same-sex marriage in the state.

The United Methodist Church's stance on homosexuality currently describes it as "incompatible with Christian teaching." The church also prohibits UM churches from hosting and clergy from performing "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions."

"I have had a concern about the 'nones,' and I heard from them," she told United Methodist News Service. "I think it's more likely they will (visit a United Methodist church). I think it's a long process back. I think, for some 'nones,' this might be part of the journey back."

"Serial relationships – whether they are heterosexual or homosexual – are a concern for me," she said. I think they undermine the security and stability of our communities and of individuals ultimately."

Despite her views, Bishop Dyck notes that she cannot perform same-sex marriages and can't give permission to other clergy to perform them.

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