Another Methodist Clergyman Will Be Going To Trial For Officiating Son’s Same-Sex Wedding

OgletreeFollowing the recent defrocking of Reverend Frank Schaefer and demands for reconsideration of church doctrine by some leaders, the United Methodist Church has charged yet another member of its clergy, Reverend Thomas Ogletree, for officiating at his own son's same-sex wedding. The act violates church law, which does not approve of same-sex marriage. Ogletree, a retired member of the church's New York district and former Dean of Yale's Divinity School, was informed of the charge via mail last week. He refused, like Schaefer before him, to promise never to officiate at a same-sex wedding again, and as such his trial, which will take place on March 10th, is moving forward.

The Associated Press reports:

"It is a shame that the church is choosing to prosecute me for this act of love, which is entirely in keeping with my ordination vows to 'seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people' and with Methodism's historic commitment to inclusive ministry embodied in its slogan 'open hearts, open minds, open doors,'" Ogletree said in a statement…

Bishop Martin McLee, who leads the New York Annual Conference, asked for prayers for all involved and noted church procedures allow for a negotiated settlement even after a trial starts. "It is my hope and prayer that a just resolution can be arrived at and a trial can be avoided," McLee said in a statement.

The Rev. Randall Paige of Christ Church UMC in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., who led the clergy who filed the complaint, said, "we take no joy" in the charges against Ogletree.

Unlike other congregations, like the Evangelical Lutheran and Episcopal churches, the United Methodist Church has continually refused to alter church law regarding same-sex marriages. In the face of rapidly changing marriage laws throughout the United States, the church may need to rule on its own doctrine sooner rather than later. 


  1. Alex Parrish says

    The United Methodist Church has tried over and over again to change its rules, but unlike the other denominations listed, its rules give full and equal weight to churches outside the US including those in Africa. Unless and until the US church separates itself from those churches outside the US, it will be unable to move forward. If only the US votes were counted, it would have OKed this years ago. It is a sad fact and many United Methodists in the US are ashamed (as they should be) of it and feel helpless to change it.

  2. Don says

    My partner and I have been United Methodist for 20 years. Alex Parrish is completely correct. The US Methodist have lost control of the church and no longer have the votes to make a change. The only hope for the Methodist Church in this country is to split with the Africans and Philippino Methodist Church.

  3. Seattle Mike says

    And the conservatives in the US will fight that split within the church because the African delegates vote with them on these sorts of conservative social issues. One of the African delegates to a recent General Conference (2008 or 2012) referred to gay people as either animals or dogs. The translator, who was appalled, apologized in advance before translating the vicious words.

  4. seamus says

    One wonders if some of these clergy plaintiffs were students at Yale Divinity School under the aegis of Dean Ogletree. Ironic, if so! And if not the case, perhaps their consciences might convince them to study the arguments of the former dean. Hmm, on second thought, they probably have neither consciences nor brains with which to study anything.

  5. Merv says

    Christianity always has been and always will be the enemy of gay people. The sooner it is tossed into the dustbin of history, the better off we’ll all be.

  6. Bill says

    You know, if enough Methodist ministers do this, get tried, and fired because of it, they could get together and form their own denomination. Maybe call it “Methodist v2″ for high-tech appeal.

  7. Captain Renault says

    Methodists are “cool” with divorce though, even though Christ specifically opposed it in the Gospels.

    Hypocrites. Brood of vipers. Woe unto you.

  8. says

    the United Methodist Church has continually refused to alter church law regarding same-sex marriages. In the face of rapidly changing marriage laws throughout the United States, the church may need to rule on its own doctrine sooner rather than later.

    The word “continually” isn’t correct. The church gets a chance to change the law only every four years at General Conference. The last one was in 2012. There really isn’t a way to “rule on its own doctrine.” What is being discussed, though not officially yet, is schism.

  9. Jon says

    @ Merv – Christianity will not be discarded into the dustbin of history. It is here to stay. I’d suggest making peace with that reality, or you’re going to have a very frustrated life.

    And while there are many Christian denominations out there (not all, however!) that disapprove of same-sex intimate sexual behavior, to wish to see Christianity discarded into the dustbin of history will ultimately be the undoing of Western civilization. Like it or not, the underpinings of Western civilation are owed to Christian philisophical and theological understandings of life, science, nature, politics, healthcare, education, and basic human nature. To separate Christianity from Western civilization will end up creating something MUCH worse for most people in society. But I suspect you don’t believe that….

  10. Merv says

    @Jon – No, I don’t believe that at all. Christianity is not even a Western religion, so I can’t even imagine why Western civilization would depend on it. Most of the strengths you mentioned owe far more to our Greco-Roman roots than anything Christian. It’s interesting that the Dark Ages began when Christianity displaced it. Imagine how far advanced we would be by now without that little 500-1000 year detour.

  11. stevetalbert says

    Christianity itself usnt anti gay. In fact the new testament can inky be read as nuetral at worse and supportive at best. Its in misreadings of the old testament where anti gay is found.

    And the new testament and the Jesus myth are reworked janism, mythra, and horus/osiris. Mixed in with Buddhism through essene monks.

    That said, Christianity set western civilization back 100s of years if not more. Christianity flourished in the dark ages. Western math and science cane from greeks through islamic moirs in spain before the inquisition tried to expell or kill them. Astronomy, medicine, evolution, psychological advances were blocked and stalled.

    The magna carta was not christian nor was us bill of rights or constitution. Etc.

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