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‘With sorrow,’ Methodist bishop files complaint over gay wedding

SHARE ‘With sorrow,’ Methodist bishop files complaint over gay wedding

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A Methodist bishop has reluctantly filed a complaint against 69 pastors who participated in a "holy union celebration" of a lesbian couple, vowing to fight a church ban on such observances.

Bishop Melvin Talbert, head of the 375-church California-Nevada United Methodist Conference, said he brought the complaint with "sorrow and regret." Talbert said his church's ban on ceremonies recognizing gay relationships is an "act of injustice." But he said church law required him to act on a complaint brought by two pastors upset that the ministers presided over a Jan. 15 ceremony for two lesbians.

"I will uphold law, but I will not be silenced. I will continue speaking out against the law and will continue working to change the position of our church to be more in keeping with the teachings and compassion of Jesus," Talbert said Tuesday.

The action is the first step toward a possible church trial for the Rev. Don Fado and 68 other ministers. If convicted, they could be removed from the clergy.

Fado said Talbert had no choice, and he said the event was planned to "make a statement to the church that it needs to re-evaluate this policy."

The conflict over same-sex weddings has been simmering for years within the United Methodist Church, which with 8.5 million members is the nation's second-biggest Protestant denomination after the Southern Baptists.