Homophobia: definition and guidance
The Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee's Definition and Guidance on Homophobia (PDF)
Why has this guidance been produced?
In 2014, the Methodist Conference received the report of the Working Party on Marriage and Civil Partnerships. Among a number of recommendations, the report gave special attention to the issue of homophobia. The Working Party encountered a number of responses to the issue of same-sex relationships that indicated a need for some clear guidance on what is, or is not, to be regarded as homophobia. It included the following in its resolutions:
The Conference … directed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, in consultation with the (Marriage and Relationships Task Group), to work, as a matter of priority, on the production and dissemination of clear guidance on what is, or is not, to be regarded as homophobia and, if thought appropriate, on a formal statement for the Conference to adopt on this matter.
In 1993, the Methodist Conference passed six resolutions on human sexuality, including a reaffirmation of the traditional teaching of the Church regarding sexuality. Resolution 6 recognized, affirmed and celebrated the participation and ministry of lesbian and gay people in the Methodist Church. Furthermore, it called on the Methodist people to begin a pilgrimage of faith to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexual orientation. In passing these resolutions, the Methodist Conference made its opposition to homophobia known.
When considering matters of sexuality and sexual orientation, Methodists not only consider the legal and social context. We must also engage with the Christian theological tradition and with the divine revelation recorded in the Bible. The experience of the Methodist Church has been that there are differences in how we read the Bible and interpret what is says and means for Christian living today.
The outcome of our deliberations, discussions and scriptural reflections on matters relating to same-sex relationships has not been consensus. At the present time, it seems that a sincere and prayerful reading of Scripture can lead some to conclude that same-sex relationships are wrong and others to conclude that they are within the will of God, with many others in between or undecided. This guidance does not alter that position but seeks to honour all those who continue to struggle with Scripture and context to find a way forward.
Link to the Guidance
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee's guidance on Homophobia (PDF) has been produced to provide a definition and guidance on what is and is not considered to be homophobia. The purpose of the guidance is to promote good relationships in our continuing Pilgrimage of Faith and discussions on human sexuality.