Methodist Minister Found Guilty...and Not Guilty

June 22, 2011
The Rev. Amy Delong, who pleaded not guilty to all charges Wednesday morning, has been found unanimously guilty this afternoon for conducting a Holy Union ceremony between two women in September 2009.  However, she was acquitted in a 12-1 vote on charges of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” “Amy (never) self-avowed anything about what happens in the privacy of her relationship with (her partner) to a bishop or a district superintendent or any official body of the church,” said DeLong’s counsel. When questioned by church counsel, DeLong refused to respond to questions about specific intimate acts, saying “there is no way, when you are trying to do me harm, that I am going to answer that.” DeLong is part of a growing movement among some clergy in the United Methodist Church willing to perform wedding ceremonies for all couples. This trial may be a significant turning point for the UMC, which has seen internal controversy over the wording of the Book of Discipline. The committee charging DeLong has already commended her “extraordinary courage,” and remarked on the “fundamentally unjust” nature of this trial. The court is currently deliberating DeLong’s punishment, which may be as lenient as a 24-hour suspension or as severe as a defrocking. On the witness stand, J. Philip Wogaman encouraged the court to consider DeLong’s intent, and whether or not her action was self-serving or in response to wider teachings and her responsibility to minister to all. GLAAD will continue to follow the trial and sentencing of Rev. Amy DeLong, offering assistance to supporters gathered in Wisconsin and all those working to make the church a more open place.