Steve Heiss, Methodist pastor, won't face trial for officiating weddings: People

July 1, 2015

An upstate New York bishop has dismissed a 2013 complaint that accused Steve Heiss, a retired United Methodist pastor, of breaking church law by officiating at several same-sex weddings, including his daughter’s.

Mark J. Webb’s May 26 decision to dismiss charges against Heiss eliminates a costly church trial.

Recently members of the Upper New York Annual Conference approved eight resolutions calling for changes to the denomination’s guidebook, the Book of Discipline, regarding gay and lesbian people. The resolutions will be presented to next year’s General Conference, the denomination’s highest legislative body.

Other Methodist conferences, or regional bodies, have taken similar votes, some calling on the denomination to allow same-sex marriage in the church and enable gay people to be­come ministers. Others demand clergy accountability.

Heiss said he was not asked to stop performing same-sex marriages.

“I have four weddings scheduled this summer,” he said. “One is a gay couple. I’m not hiding anything.” —Religion News Service