by Jenn Meadows, Director of Communications
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women’s (GCSRW) petition #60163, Inclusiveness of Gender & Age, was adopted by the General Conference by a majority vote of 68%. A 2/3 majority vote was needed in order for this petition to be adopted due to its amending the Constitution found in The Book of Discipline. The legislation adds ‘gender’, ‘age’, and ‘ability’ to the list of categories constitutionally protected for inclusion in the Church. To be fully adopted, this petition will now go before all Annual Conferences to be considered and voted upon in 2017.
Petition #60163 was amended in the General Administration Committee to add ‘ability’ along with GCSRW’s legislation of ‘gender’ and ‘age’. Adding these words to ¶ 4, Article IV of The Book of Discipline means a person could not be treated unfairly or denied opportunities due to age, ability, and on the basis of being a man or a woman. The word ‘gender’ in the language used throughout The Book of Discipline when addressing fairness. Adding it to this paragraph ensures consistency with the Discipline.
“The approval of this constitutional amendment is important as we continue to live into what it means to be a global church,” Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, President of GCSRW, stated. “The amended Article IV ensures the full participation of women in all parts of the world.”
At the conclusion of General Conference, seven of the eight petitions GCSRW submitted were adopted.