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Methodists going to Denver despite anti-gay law

(ran NT LT CT editions)

Choosing the witness of presence over the testimony of absence, United Methodists will hold their 1996 General Conference in Denver despite Colorado voters' approval of anti-gay legislation.

The denomination's Commission on the General Conference, meeting here June 4-5, voted unanimously to go ahead and hold the church's General Conference in Denver despite pleas by some Methodist leaders and agencies to boycott the state.

In a statement accompanying their reaffirmation of Denver as the conference site, members of the commission _ the body that does all the planning for General Conference _ said they stood with those "working in behalf of the civil rights of all persons." They also set in motion plans for a "witness in support of civil and human rights for all persons" during the time the delegates are in Denver. The United Methodist Church teaches that while homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching," it also insists that "all persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human civil rights ensured."