From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Supreme Court strikes Amendment 2

Date 22 May 1996 15:36:53

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2968 by UMNS on May 22, 1996 at 16:51 Eastern (3757 characters).

Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency of
the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., New
York, and Washington.

SEARCH:   Amendment 2, Colorado, homosexual, civil rights

  UMNS stories may be accessed on the Internet World Wide Web at:

CONTACT:  Joretta Purdue                       254(10-28-71){2968}
          Washington, D.C.  (202) 546-8722                    May
22, 1992

Court decision on Colorado's Amendment 2
sparks United Methodists' responses

     WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- The U.S. Supreme Court held that
"Amendment 2" passed by Colorado voters in a 1992 referendum was
unconstitutional in 6-3 decision announced here May 20.
     The controversial amendment to the state constitution, in the
eyes of opponents, denied civil rights to homosexual men and women
and, in the eyes of its supporters, denied special protection to
those people.
     It was never implemented because of immediate challenges in
the courts.
     Existence of the legislation was enough to cause several
groups and individual United Methodists to call for relocating the
denomination's 1996 General Conference out of Denver.
     In response, the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference delegates to
the 1992 General Conference wrote a letter asking that the church
not move the 1996 event but help the conference make a witness. The
Commission on the General Conference agreed and a two-hour service
of witness and prayer was held during the first week of the April
16-26 assembly.
     Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the Supreme Court's majority
opinion in which he reasoned that the legislation violated the
equal protection guarantee in the U.S. Constitution. Justice
Antonin Scalia penned the dissent in which he said, "Today's
opinion has no foundation in Constitutional law, and barely
pretends to."
     Bishop Mary Ann Swensen of the Denver Area, which includes the
Rocky Mountain Conference, said she was glad that the United
Methodist Church had worked to prevent the passage of Amendment 2
before she had become bishop of the area.
     "Ever since I have been here the church has worked to overturn
it," she said, "so we are delighted the Supreme Court has ruled it
unconstitutional." She also referred to the denomination's Social
Principles that includes a paragraph (71G) affirming the "rights of
homosexual persons."
     The Rev. James V. Heidinger, editor of Good News magazine, the
publication of the church's evangelical caucus, commented, "Persons
practicing homosexuality are not an 'oppressed' minority."
     He said, he believes Amendment 2 was designed only to prevent
granting them special rights. Heidinger termed the decision "a
defeat for both the freedom of conscience as well as for the
democratic process." He continued, "On yet another issue of great
moral concern to Americans, the legislative voice of the people has
been trumped by judicial activism."
     The Rev. Jeanne Knepper, one of the co-spokespersons for
Affirmation, the church's gay and lesbian caucus, said she thinks
"what the Supreme Court did was say that the Constitution doesn't
allow singling people out as a class for discrimination."
     She added that she feels the church's Constitution says the
same thing, but she regrets that another four years will pass
before General Conference meets again and "the church can go on
record being clear that it also doesn't discriminate based on
membership in a class."
     Knepper said, she thinks "everyone knows that it is wrong to
discriminate ... so those people who do so always understand that
they are doing it to further some moral end."
                              #  #  #


 To make suggestions or give your comments, send a note to or

 To unsubscribe, send the single word "unsubscribe" (no quotes)
 in a mail message to


Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home