History of Christian Ordinations of LGBT Clergy
1963: The Society of Friends in Great Britain published A Quaker View of Sex
in which they argued that depth of love and commitment, not gender and
sexual orientation, were the important aspects of sexuality. The
Society of Friends has a decentralized structure but different Quaker
meetings have welcomed LGBT leaders since the 1980s.
1972: United Church of Christ: The UCC was the first church to ordain openly gay clergy in 1972. In 2003 they were also the first to call for full inclusion of transgender clergy and members. The UCC was also the first Protestant denomination to recognize same-sex marriage.
1999: The Church of England
ordained the first openly gay bishop. However, no more were
nominated or elected and in 2006 a moratorium on the nomination of LGBT
bishops was passed (see below). In 2005 an English priest
transitioned from male to female and was allowed to continue in the
priesthood as a woman; in 2005 the first transgender woman was ordained
as a priest. In
2010 some Anglican churches both in England and abroad left the
Anglican Church over this issue and became known as the Reformed
Episcopal Churches. In 2013 the Church of England upheld the
moratorium, but allowed LGBT clergy to become bishops if they remain
celibate. In 2014 the Church of England refused to institute "gay
blessing" ceremonies and also affirmed the moratorium on LGBT clergy,
this time for all orders of the ministry.
2006: The American Episcopal Church
ordained the first openly gay bishop. In response the Angican
Church instituted a moratorium on LGBT elections to bishop, although
the resolution said nothing about ordination to the priesthood itself. In 2009 the Anglican Church and laity rejected the Church of England's moratorium and elected 2 more LGBT clergy as bishops.
2008: The United and Reformed Lutheran churches. Began ordaining LGBT clergy. One pastor has been nominated for bishop so far but did not win election.
2009: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. In
2013 the ELCA elected its first male gay bishop. In 2014 the ELCA
ordained the first openly transgender leader of a congregation.
2009: The Church of Sweden elected its first lesbian bishop.
2011: The Church of Scotland. The
Church of Scotland chose a gay pastor in 2009 but allowed no others to
go forward. It adopted inclusion as a general policy in 2013.
2012: The Presbyterian Church USA
ordained the first openly lesbian pastor in 2012. The
Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), the second largest Presbyterian
body, still considers homosexuality a sin and will not ordain LGBT
clergy or accept LGBT members.
2013: The Disciples of Christ have a decentralized church structure. By
2011 some regions were allowing LGBT ordination. In 2013 the
General Assembly passed a "Sense of the Assembly" resolution
encouraging full inclusion but will not force individual churches to do
2015: The United Methodist Church drafted a proposal to ordain LGBT clergy in February. It will vote on this proposal in May.