|G-4||Consideration of Homosexuality From South Mississippi District|
Whereas, Numerous controversial issues arose in the previous Conference regarding the topic of homosexuality, which has led to dissention and diviseness among the body of believers; and
Whereas, The continued presence of that dissention and divisiveness is not conducive to the efficient and effective pursuit of the church's divinely mandated mission; therefore be it
Resolved, That the representative body of the World Conference be given full opportunity both to discuss, and to vote upon, all issues and resolutions pertaining to the topic of homosexuality in the church during the 2004 World Conference without further delay or deferral. The issues to be discussed shall include, but not be limited to, ordination of homosexuals and the church's policy on same-sex marriages.
This resolution was ruled out of order with the following statement from President Grant McMurray:
"This resolution also has at its foundation a principle which we fully support, that being the right of the Conference to have a full discussion of all items of substance that come before it. The presiding officers of the Conference make every effort to ensure that those rights are protected, sometimes bending the parliamentary rules a bit to allow for further discussion when a more stringent interpretation would forbit it. We always have to balance the desire of people to be heard with the right of the Conference to determine how much debate it needs to hear or whether it wishes to dispose of a matter through referral or postponement or other legislative actions at its disposal.
"This resolution seeks to impose by a majority vote a requirement that all issues and resolutions on homosexuality be discussed and voted on 'without further delay or deferral.' However, it is impossible to find the body by a majority vote to a requirement that it can undo by a majority vote. To do so would remove from the body the various methods it has to manage the debate and to handle resolutions in accordance with the will of the majority, and is therefore out of harmony with the procedural rules of this assembly.
"Further, this resolution requires a discussion and vote on matters that are not properly before the body in any form, e.g., same-sex marriages. It would therefore obligate the presiding officers to ask the assembly to vote on a question about which there is no resolution proposed.
"Therefore, because it is in violation of the parliamentary rules of the assembly, and is not implementable in some of its provisions, we are obligated to rule Item G-4 out of order. We would note that we are not ruling out of order the resolutions on homosexuality that are properly before the body. It will be the right of the Conference to determine whether it wishes to consider those resolutions, refer them, or postpone action.
"By way of further explanation, it has been the expressed desire of the First Presidency that there be dialogue on the issue of homosexuality, just as is requested in Item G-5. This week we have provided for more than thirty discussion and information sessions and twenty-nine Listening Circles so that a maximum number of people will be able to address their own perspectives on this matter. We are also scheduling numerous Listening Circles throughout the church to provide opportunity for this to be widely considered, even beyond those who are able to attend World Conference. There will be opportunity to pose questions to the Committee on Homosexuality and the Church when its report is presented later in the week.
"We will continue to look for occasions to openly discuss this important issue, which can be so divisive and which we pray we can handle in a spirit of love and mutual respoect. However, for the reasons identified above we are required to rule Item G-4 out of order."