Another Request Bites the Dust
A group of pro-LGBTQAI pastors prepared resolutions for the North Texas Annual Conference, and got them in on time to be printed in the pre-conference report. However, because of the proximity of the special-called General Conference (GC2019), a motion was made to table the resolutions, awaiting the results of GC2019 and it was passed. This was part of the process to deal with the consent calendar, not a presenting of motions to bring them to the floor for consideration.
After the vote to table, one of the group attempted to remove one of the resolutions which defined “inside the church” as the site for gay marriages or celebrations of gay unions. The resolution would have allowed the definition to free pastors to conduct those services outside the church buildings, literally on their steps. The “movant,’ the pastor arguing to pull that resolution off the table, argued it was not directly related to homosexuality so he “requested a ruling of law” about the meaning of “inside the church” in Par. 341.6. The bishop ruled him out of order. The movant failed to ask the plenary to overrule the bishop. The plenary was given a chance to vote on the untabling of that resolution which failed. After the annual conference ended, as the secretary was leaving, she received the hand-written request for a ruling of law. The bishop reported it, saying it was out of order because the written request came after the close of conference and the matter had been resolved against the movant parliamentarily.
Reading the docket item 0219-7 was better than just reading the summary by the Council, good as it was.
The Council was unable to take jurisdiction because the resolutions never “made it to the floor” because the advocating group failed to get the resolutions to be motions by failing to overcome the tabling motion. That the resolutions had been printed in the pre-conference materials did not give them standing as motions before the conference.
I’ve commented in past postings here that when a pastor raises a “request for a ruling of law,” the bishop should suggest that the pastor meet with the conference chancellor or other competent person to go over the rules and options for raising legal matters for review by the Judicial Council and try to help get that concern into the best form possible and then arrange a time for the request, in proper form, be presented to the conference. The bishop, according to the minutes, did not interrupt the plenary to allow such a help to be offered.
Practically speaking, the movant didn’t have a chance anyway because the conference members saw right away it was related to the gay issues of the other two resolutions.
Interestingly, the final result, though it was an unsuccessful bid to reach a ruling by the Council, got attention all the way to the Council. Maybe that was all the group wanted, attention to their resolutions and the issue of how tightly Par. 341.6 should be read.
Update: Maybe a parliamentarian can say whether or not presentation of resolutions on a consent calendar is a form of motion to the floor. My Robert’s Rules training never included “consent calendar” actions.