University of Mount Union ends United Methodist affiliation over LGBT bans

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ALLIANCE, Ohio (AP) – A university in Ohio has ended its affiliation with the United Methodist Church over the denomination’s renewed bans on LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage.

The Canton Repository reports the University of Mount Union president says the board of trustees considered the issue for months before voting recently to end the affiliation of more than 150 years.

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church in February voted to continue prohibiting the ordination of gays and lesbians and barring its clergy from presiding at same-sex weddings.

University President W. Richard Merriman, Jr. says the school wants a diverse campus.

In a letter emailed to parents, Merriman says:

“As most of you are aware, Mount Union was founded by Methodist lay people in 1846. The institution is rooted in the Christian tradition as expressed in the American Methodist movement of the 19th Century. An important part of this movement was an effort to advance social progress through the establishment of academically rigorous institutions that were non-secretarian, as well as racially, ethnically and gender inclusive. Mount Union was founded as an institution ‘where men and women could be educated with equal opportunity’ and ‘where there would be no distinction due to race, color, sex or position.'”

The letter goes on to say the United Methodist Church’s recent decision regarding the LGBT community “is at odds with the university’s historical and current commitments to welcome and support all people who wish to participate in our programs.”

The university in Alliance says ending the affiliation won’t affect its curriculum.

Mount Union has posted FAQs about this decision on its website.

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