About 10 years ago I was at a wedding of a cousin and his bride. The Methodist Pastor blessed the couple and, as an aside, offered a prayer that someday the blessing of Marriage be offered to all loving couples who wish to partake of it. I was so moved and pleased to hear a person of God speak of Marriage in such an inclusive way; as an institution that symbolizes fidelity, honor, love, and family for ALL, regardless of the genders of the couple. It was quite a revolutionary idea then, especially uttered in a Church.
Ten years and 13 states later (and counting!), it should not be such a revolutionary idea. I believe a monogamous, faithful and devoted pair of adults joining in marriage should be WELCOMED, celebrated and, YES, sanctified in the Methodist Church. As further argument for this, I respectfully offer this article written by a Yale Divinity student who is a former Evengelical Christian. I hope that you read it, and it gives you more reasons to turn away from the exclusivity and prejudice that is still evident in the language of the Methodist Doctrine.
Please consider it when deciding how best to address Reverend Heiss' actions. Please also consider that the Methodist Church is a faith I have chosen SPECIFICALLY because of its "reconciling" parish, though I myself am heterosexual. I was raised a Catholic and left that church for (among other things) the Church's stance on homosexuality; it did not sit well with my conscience or with my understanding of Jesus' message of love and acceptance. I could not conceive of bringing my daughters to a house of worship that condemned a group of people as "less holy, less deserving, sinful" based on a biological sexual preference that has absolutely nothing to do with morality.
Do not punish Reverend Heiss. Please allow for the sanctity of marriage to be bestowed upon all of your parishioners without discrimination over gender preference. Love needs to win, Bishop Webb. Please.
Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church