Dear Bishop Webb,
I would like to introduce myself and then offer a just resolution to the situation raised by Rev. Steve Heiss. You and I have had opportunities to meet, but I just don't get out to a lot of functions and so we haven't, yet.
I'm an active member of the Centenary Chenango Street UMC in Binghamton. I've been on the UNYAC Board of Ministry since its beginning. My wife and I got married last year in a UCC church and with a UCC minister officiating rather than in our own church where Steve and any number of other UM clergy friends would have loved to have done our wedding. We neither wanted a secret wedding, nor a political hassle. We wanted to celebrate a long standing love out loud with friends and family. We did and capped the evening with a joyous reception in our home church. You would have loved the spirit of it all...it was a beautiful evening. Just a touch of sadness; and then the irony that we could party in our church, but not exchange sacred vows.
As to my suggestion for a just resolution: I suggest you simply drop the case on the grounds that the Book of Discipline has conflicting positions on the subject. The Book of Discipline can be used to support either side of the issue and it can be used against either side. To put yourself, others, and church resource to the task of sorting it all out is impossible and wasteful. Tell General Conference to sort it out and own its decisions by being unambiguous.
Now, I understand there is a requirement that the "just resolution" sought after in these 90 days must be acceptable to all parties. I suggest that "just" and "acceptable to all parties" might not work! We might ask, "Justice for who?" The church? General Conference (the majority are not always aligned with justice)? Justice for the rules doesn't really work! Justice for gays, their parents, sibs, grandchildren?
It might be best that you just do right as you see it with God's help. And then be as clear as you can in explaining you actions.
I know you have prayers of many as you listen and lead. You have mine among them especially as you focus on the task of feeding the poor, caring for the neglected, and otherwise seek the Kingdom.
Respectfully and prayerfully,