LEGALITY OF THE “SENSE OF THE WESTERN JURISDICTION”
In JCD 1237, the resolution passed by the Western Jurisdiction was not ruled upon because the bishop chose to rule that the original question was so flawed by misspellings as to be moot and hypothetical. The Council did not drop the matter but told the bishop to answer the questions because the misspellings were easily correctable from the context of the request.
The bishop responded to the Council’s request and ruled that the resolution penalties appropriate for conviction of the church “crime” of conducting ceremonies for same sex couples to be was suspension for 24 hours was aspirational. (No surprise: see the post on JCM 1237 in this blog.)
However, the Council reversed the bishop’s ruling because the resolution went over the line. Like the Northern Illinois Annual Conference’s resolution dealt with in JCD 1201, this resolution pushed the envelope farther than the Council would allow, so it is null and void.
This resolution, illegal under church law, is kind of like a bell that has been rung and there is no way to stop the sound once it has left the bell. The idea is out there now and there will be the potential of trial courts considering such brief suspensions offered by the resolution.
Will Counsels for the Church appeal such trial court decisions by calling them “egregious” in light of this and other similar rulings, the only grounds on which the Church can appeal results of a church trial? See JCD 1215 and the posting in this blog related to it for one alternative that was tried. Because of this ruling, look for a church appeal in the future.