Memorandum Number 1236
IN RE: Review of a Bishop's Decision of Law in the Desert Southwest Annual Conference Regarding the Resolution Entitled "Inclusiveness Resolution"
On June 24, 2012, The Desert Southwest Annual Conference, held at Glendale, Arizona, adopted a resolution entitled the "21.30 Inclusive Resolution." The clergy member who brought it before the Annual Conference "stated that the Book of Discipline caused harm to Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender people and that it needed to be set aside." His daughter spoke in favor of the resolution. Another clergy member of the Annual Conference asked Bishop Carcaño to rule whether the comments made by the clergy member and Resolution 21.30 were in compliance with "the rulings of the Judicial Council and the requirements of our Discipline."
The Bishop made a ruling that the clergy member was out of order. Sometime later, Resolution 21.30 passed and was adopted. The clergy member (referred to in the Minutes as lay member) "again asked for a ruling from Bishop Carcaño and she stated that she would rule within several days." The Minutes of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference have no mention of any further conversation or discussion about Resolution 21.30. In her brief, however, the Bishop states that "at the conclusion of the annual conference session," she "requested the clergy member's written request for a ruling of law." The clergy member, however, "had failed to submit a written request. In an effort to be responsive to the clergy member's concern, I asked the conference secretary Rev. Louie Lyons, of the Desert Southwest Conference to attempt to obtain a written request for a ruling of law from the clergy member. The clergy member submitted his request of ruling of law on July 3, 2012, by email." Paragraph 51, Article VII of the Constitution reads as follows:
A bishop presiding over an annual, central, or jurisdictional conference shall decide all questions of law coming before the bishop in the regular business of a session, provided that such questions be presented in writing and that the decisions be recorded in the journal of the conference.
Paragraph 2609.6 states as follows:
The Judicial Council shall pass upon and affirm, modify, or reverse the decisions of law made by bishops in central, district, annual, or jurisdictional conferences upon questions of law submitted to them in writing in the regular business of a session….
The Minutes of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference do not include nor do they refer to a written submission of the question. The question was submitted on July 3, 2012. Therefore, the Bishop was not required to make a decision of law.
The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction in this matter.
Because the submission of the question fails to meet the requirement of submission of ¶2609.6 of the 2008 Discipline, there is no valid decision of law made by the Bishop of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference presented before the Judicial Council; as a result, the Judicial Council lacks jurisdiction in this matter. See Memorandum 1219.
Beth Capen and Ruben Reyes were absent.
Sandra Lutz, first lay alternate, and Warren Plowden, fifth lay alternate, participated in this decision.