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Published June 02, 2011, 08:10 AM

Same-gender marriages divide UM clergy

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — The debate over same-sex marriage is dividing members of the clergy within the United Methodist Church.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — The debate over same-sex marriage is dividing members of the clergy within the United Methodist Church.

During their annual conference in St. Cloud, dozens of Minnesota United Methodist clergy signed a statement saying they would marry any couple who came to them, including same-sex couples.

Reverend Bruce Robbins of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis says initially had about a dozen of his colleagues signed the statement, but by Wednesday night, that number had grown to 40. The statement isn't part of the annual conference.

Bishop Sally Dyck says the statement doesn't break church rules. However, she says the church discipline forbids same-sex marriage, and clergy who perform the ceremonies could lose their conference membership, or clergy credentials.

WJON reports (http://bit.ly/kGwknI ) about 900 voting members are attending the conference in St. Cloud this week.

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