Clock Runs Out on Dissent

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

A Honduran deputy tried to read the Communion Partners Salt Lake City Statement to the House of Deputies on Thursday, but she was cut off in a move she found “very disrespectful.”

Deputy Claudia Fuentes used a point of personal privilege to begin reading the statement, which is signed by 20 bishops. In it, they explain their dissent from General Convention’s steps this week to redefine marriage in church canons and continue trial rites for same-sex wedding ceremonies.

“The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation,” Fuentes read aloud in Spanish through a translator, moments before she was cut off.

When Fuentes’s four minutes expired, House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings interrupted her mid-sentence to thank her and declared the House in recess until Friday. Fuentes took offense at the way the House of Deputies treated her.

“It was very disrespectful, not just for me, but for all the bishops I was representing,” she said. The statement, she said, “was a way to hear our heart.”

Fuentes said she understood that each speaker has a limited time and that hers had expired. But under the circumstances, she felt an exception was in order.

“This is a special case,” she said. “It’s very important for everyone to know what [the dissenting bishops] think about it.”

The House of Bishops heard the two-page statement read aloud on Wednesday. On Thursday, the deputies heard only the first five sentences before Fuentes was told to stop. After the session, one deputy approached to commiserate.

“I was very sad that your time was out,” a deputy said to her. “I wanted you to have more time to express your minority report.”

Image of Salt Palace Convention Center by jnshaumeyer, via Flickr •

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