The United Methodist Church members of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference voted down a married lesbian woman's ordination as Deacon on June 1.
Tara Morrow needed two-third of the conference to vote in favor for her to serve in the position, which she failed to get.
Rev. Charles Parker of the Board of Ordained Ministry (BoOM) had recommended commission of Morrow as a provisional deacon in a report that praised her work in the church to fight for social justice, and her commitment to UMC.
"At the provisional member examination in January, the BoOM voted to recommend Tara (T.C.) Morrow for provisional membership as a deacon in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Ms. Morrow articulates a God-given call to ministry that has been affirmed by many people. She demonstrates faith, fire, and fruit in the area of social justice, as seen in her work on staff at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. She has a deep passion for - and longstanding commitment to - The United Methodist Church," BoOM said in a statement.
Morrow is married to another woman, and the UMC's Book of Discipline says that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practising homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."
The decision about Morrow's ordination comes just weeks after the UMC General Conference held in Portland, Oregon.
"While I am saddened that the full clergy session did not affirm the BOOM's recommendation, I appreciate the BOOM's openness and transparency related to my candidacy," Morrow said. "I hope such openness may be an example as the Council of Bishops moves forward with a commission to study and possibly offer revision of the parts of the United Methodist Book of Discipline related to 'human sexuality.' As we know well, discussions of how to work with LGBTQ clergy and clergy candidates are not abstract discussions. We are talking about real lives, real people who are called by God to leadership in the church."
The annual conference delayed taking any stand on homosexuality and ordination of LGBT clergy. In May, delegates from all over the world voted 428-105 to form a commission that will examine the issue of homosexuality and decide on whether to change the Book of Discipline.
Bishop Bruce Ough, president of Council of Bishops, said that the commission would "develop a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality."
"We continue to hear from many people on the debate over sexuality that our current discipline contains language which is contradictory, unnecessarily hurtful, and inadequate for the variety of local, regional and global contexts," he said.
The committee will make the decision after investigating members' claim to the legitimacy of homosexuality.
"We recommend the General Conference defer all votes regarding human sexuality and refer this entire subject to a special commission named by the Council of Bishops," said Ough.