This plan was rejected with opposition from 53 percent of delegates, after failing a previous day's committee vote.
An alternative "Simple Plan" would have removed all teaching regarding sexual relations limited to husband and wife. This would have removed teachings against premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual behavior. About 60 percent of delegates rejected this plan.
Some foes of the Traditional Plan attempted various delaying tactics, including amendments stating that according to the Bible any candidate for pastor or bishop who is divorced or remarried is as ineligible as a practicing homosexual.
One critic, Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, executive director of the group Mainstream UMC, lamented the decision, saying "No way around it, this hurts. My heart breaks for all the LGBTQ persons in our connection."
In a statement on his group's website, Holland said the plan's felt like the ecclesial community had "shattered" and "spilled." He contended that the general conference is a "charade" that is "completely controlled by a well-funded, well-staffed, U.S. based advocacy group."
"Our church was hijacked from the inside out," he said, charging that the Traditional Plan was "gutted" and its unconstitutional parts were not fixed. Describing the exit plan as "fatally flawed and unconstitutional," predicting it would be "dead on arrival" at the judicial council in April.
"They have a symbolic victory only. We are essentially at status quo," he said.
John Lomperis, United Methodist Director of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, backed the Traditional Plan. Writing at the blog Juicy Ecumenism, he said the conference showed "the very deep divides in our denomination."
"There was plenty of loud, angry protesting. So much hurt all around. It was a rather stressful day," he said.
In his view, the failure of the One Church Plan was a "dramatic rebuke" of the leadership efforts of the UMC leaders and if it could not be passed at this general conference it is difficult to see how it could pass in the future, when American delegate numbers will likely decrease and overseas delegates increase.
The Reconciling Ministries Network called the passage of the Traditional Plan "deeply unjust and painful." It attributed its passage to "the efforts of organized opponents to gospel inclusion who have funded and promoted the demise of Christian witness across denominations who have dared to call out a white nationalist strain of Christianity."
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"For decades, they sought the decline of biblical justice-rooted Christian traditions and have built the infrastructure and narrative that has now risen to power in The United Methodist Church."
The network said the 1972 teaching is "incompatible with Christian teaching" and has been "so harmful to so many lives." It said harm is done when "LGBTIQA+ lives" are not affirmed."
The network dates back to 1982, when its founders sought to encourage congregations to affirm gays and lesbians. It claims 900 "Reconciling Communities" and over 35,000 members.
The future of some American Methodist schools of higher education is also in doubt. Jan Love, a dean of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, said Feb. 26 she and the other heads of the 13 official United Methodist theological schools believe "unequivocally" that the Traditional Plan threatened the future of the UMC in the U.S.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association, a group within the UMC, backed the successful Traditional Plan but still might leave, association head Keith Boyette told The Atlantic.
LGBT advocacy within Christian denominations and Churches has external support. The Arcus Foundation has long backed LGBT advocates within Christian denominations and Churches.