The acquittal of a lesbian Methodist pastor charged with violating a church ban on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy does not change church law, United Methodist bishops have cautioned members as the denomination prepares for its once-every-four-years convention late this month.
ThomasO’Brien, the resigned Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, has been sentenced to four years on probation for a hit-and-run accident that killed a pedestrian. O’Brien, 68, was also ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service, including hospital visits to severely injured and dying patients. His driver’s license was suspended for five years.
Massachusetts legislators have given initial approval to an amendment that bans gay marriage but explicitly authorizes identical civil benefits for same-sex couples. However, since the amendment cannot take effect until November of 2006 at the earliest, Massachusetts is set to become the first state to recognize gay marriages.