GAYS WALK OUT AND THE BISHOP RESPONDS
NAME CHANGE FOR POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
Gay activism in the form of lobbying
the United Methodist Church for changes
in its official attitued toward gay
people, has been going on in the Austin-
San Antonio area since 1971.
About 20 people wore armbands with
pink triangles and sat together at the
ordination services ofthe Southwest Texas
Annual Conference on June 1, 1977. This
group of 20 was made up of members of
the Southwest Texas United Methodist Gay
Caucus and their friends, members of the
Metropolitan Community Church in San Antonio, and members of Integrity, the
Episcopal gay organization.
Following the sermon, most of the
gay group walked out of the serri.ce in
protest just before the ordination ceremony began. After the ordination of
deacons and elders, 3ishop J. Chess
Lovern responded tothe walkout by making
a few impromptu remarks and leading the
conference in prayer.
Bishop Lovem state that he felt
that the group had walked out because it
felt it was not wanted by the church.
The bishop affirmed that all of us in
the church have weaknesses and failings,
that all of us need to grow and change,
and that all of us are welcome at the
table of the Lord. He requested that
the group meet with him personally again
in the near future.
The annual conference level gay
activist effort has been concentrated on
the ordination service because open, out-
of-the-closet lesbians and gay men are
denied ordination into the ministry of
the United Methodist Church.
3ishop Lovern's genuine offer of
fellowship with the Gay Caucus is an act
of Christian leadership on his part.
However,the voting members of the annual
conference, lay and clergy, are another
matter. They are not bound to follow
their bishop's example of •-.-arm comradeship and acceptance of gay church people.
Even if the conference members do choose
to "accept" gay activists as fellow
Christians, they probably will not feel
like pushing for the acceptance of lesbians and gay ment into the ordained
Methodist ministry. Acceptance into the
menistry is the sign gay activists look
for to signal them that the church does
indeed want and respect them.
Sitting on the other end of the pew
from the Gay Caucus was Don Hand, a lay
delegate from the Southwest Texas Annual
Conference to the General Conference in
Portland, Oregon, in 1976. It was Mr.
Hand who proposed the legislation that
was incorporated into the 1976Discl'Dlir-e
which states that United Methodists
regard homosexuality as "incompatible
with Christian teaching"—Anita Bryant's
It is the General Conference of the
United Methodist Church which makes the
laws and policies for this particular
denomination, just as the Congress does
for the United States. Until General
Conference declares that sexual or affec-
tional preference shall not disqualify a
candidate for ordination, the individual
annual conferences cannot legally ordain
out-front lesbians and gay ment into the
For approximately the past three
months the Gay Political Coalition has
been active in the campaign on protecting human rights locally as well as
nationally. The Coalition first surfaced
in response to the Clay Smothers House
3ill 1902 which attempted to regulate
gay students on state-supported campuses.
The most visible actions ofthe political
group have been gathering signatures on
a petition protesting this bill. Lobbying both representatives and senators at
the capitol on various pieces of legislation and most recently .in helping with
the collection of donations for the
struggle of the Dade County Coaltion were
also part of their activities during the
first few months of its existence.
In order to take a more progressive
stand the Coalition has changed its name
to the Society for the Advancement of
Freedom and Equality: 5.A.F.E.
The the future the organization will
be lobbyingthe new mayor and city council regarding this city's housing ordinance. 5.A.F.E. meets twice a month on
Sunday evenings at the M.C.C. For fur-
thur information regarding the time, contact Gay Community Services at 477-6699-
OPINION (From San Diego activist groups
"Yes, I like to meet gay people, but
GCS is not for me. The place is really
cliquish and most people just go there
"GCS is not even a cruisy place, why
should I go to see the same people over
and over again."
"The good old days were neat. We
used to get fifty or sixty people every
Wednesday, and had dances and programs.
I went there two weeks ago and there was
nothing going on."
I've heard these comments time after
time; most of them are probably true. We
come here with expectations, we want to
meet new people, start love affairs or
form acceptable social groups. . . .3ut
nothing happens and we end up getting
the well known ''GC3 Depressions". Maybe
GCS should disappear and we should all
start going to the bars instead. After
all, who wants to put energy into an
organization which doesn't give anything
Well, it is very easy to put GCS
down, toget fed up and stop coming. But
that's the easy way out.I firmly believe
that WE ARE GCS and when I say we I
don't mean the six people who always
come. GCS is for °n of 'us and we make
out of it what we want. There are no
rules which say that GCS shouldn't be
cruisy or an intellectual-political group.
We can actually become any of these
things, but we need YOU to do it. We
need to get people who want to have a gay
environment in which to interact, people
who want to make this place a comfortable
one to all gay people. WE NEED YOU
Give us a chance to prove that we can
make something good out of this.
RE-EMBER THE FREE VD CLINIC ON FRIDAY,
JUNE 17, AT THE AUSTIN CLUB BATHS,
30S W. 16th STREET, 8-10 pm. BE SAFE.':