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Decision No. 490

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October 30 1980
In Re: Request of General Conference for a Ruling on the Constitutionality of a Study Document on Human Sexuality.

Digest of Case

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction.

Statement of Facts

On April 25, 1980, the General Conference approved Report No. 31 of the Committee on Church and Society entitled, "Study Document on Human Sexuality." (DCA, pages 533, 671, 1005-1007) The Report was presented in two parts, each of which was approved separately: as Calendar Item 1154, dealing with referral ofthe Study Document; and as Calendar Item 1659, the Study Document itself. After its referral of the Study Document the General Conference voted: to ask the Judicial Council for a ruling on the constitutionality of the study document on human sexuality in 1659 which has several statements that are explicitly contradictory to the stated Social Principles of the Discipline, especially Paragraph 71, Number 2, on the Nurturing Community, the sections on Marriage and Human Sexuality as affirmed by this General Conference. (DCA, P. 1007) JURISDICTION The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction. ANALYSIS According to the present Constitution and legislation of the Church, the Judicial Council has power to act with respect to the General Conference and its actions as follows: . . . to determine the constitutionality of any act of the General Conference upon an appeal of . . . one fifth of the members of the General Conference... (Constitution-Par. 61.1, also Par. 2507.1 1976 Discipline, 2607.1 1980 Discipline.) . . . to determine the constitutionality of any proposed legislation when such declaratory decision is requested by the General Conference . . . Par. 2507.2 1976 Discipline, 2607.2 1980 Discipline. . . . on petition [by the General Conference] to make a ruling in the nature of a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality, meaning, application, or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation of a General Conference; ... Par. 2515 1976 Discipline, 2615 1980 Discipline. The vote by the General Conference in the instant case to ask the Judicial Council for a ruling on the constitutionality of the Study Document because of claims of contradictions to the Social Principles makes no reference to the constitutionality of any act of the General Conference or of any proposed legislation nor to the constitutionality, meaning, application or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation of a General Conference. Instead, it asks for a ruling on the constitutionality of the Study Document vis-a-vis the Social Principles. Neither the Social Principles nor the Study Document is part of the Constitution. The Study Document is not legislation or proposed legislation. Thus the Judicial Council is without jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of the Study Document.

Decision

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction.

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