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UMC to investigate pastor who married lesbian couple

KAUKAUNA - The United Methodist Church will start holding a trial in Kaukauna tomorrow for a pastor from northwest Wisconsin accused of violating church rules against homosexuality.

44-year-old Reverend Amy DeLong of Osceola is charged with violating a church ban on the ordination of self-avowed homosexuals, and marrying a lesbian couple. DeLong told her supervisors a number of years ago she was having a lesbian relationship. And she admitted in a required 2009 report that she agreed to marry a lesbian couple. A jury of 13 pastors will decide DeLong's fate over a scheduled three-day proceeding.

She told the AP it's been hard dealing with the charges. But DeLong decided not to suspend her conscience when joining the ministry. She said it was incumbent on her not to perpetuate what she called unjust church laws. DeLong is part of a growing movement by Methodist pastors to marry same-sex couples regardless of church punishment. Hundreds of clergy have signed statements in Illinois, Minnesota, New England, and New York State expressing their willingness to go against the church's ban on marrying gay couples. Minneapolis pastor Bruce Robbins said he signed it out of urgency, as Minnesota considers a constitutional ban on gay marriage.