Assembly OKs Transsexual Clergy; United Methodists Vote to Accept Her for reassignment.(NATION)
Byline: Sean Salai, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Rev. Richard Zomastny, the Methodist preacher who went on voluntary leave in 1999 to become Rebecca Steen, is set to become the first transsexual pastor assigned to a Christian church in America.
An assembly of Washington-area United Methodist clergy last night voted to accept Miss Steen's status as a minister "in good standing."
"Rev. Rebecca N. Steen has voluntarily returned to active service after being on leave of absence," said spokesman Dean Snyder after the vote of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. "She is, therefore, available for appointment by Bishop [Felton] May."
The precise vote count was not disclosed, but Mr. Synder revealed that several clergy raised "questions of law" during the four-hour session that may affect the final appointment.
"I will consider these questions and rule on them as I am required to do by our Book of Discipline," Bishop May said in a prepared statement after the assembly. "I will report my rulings to a special clergy session this Saturday."
"I'm not surprised at the decision, because I think there was a certain understanding that this was what would happen," said Jerald Walz, a conference attendee from Dunkirk, Md.
"I'm saddened and disappointed at what seems to be the lack of moral fortitude in making a determination about the appointability of this clergyperson," said Mr. …