A Dallas County judge ruled in favor of Southern Methodist University in a lawsuit filed by a branch of the United Methodist Church after the university amended its bylaws and articles of incorporation to separate itself from church control.
The Texas-based university took the step of amending its governance documents to establish its independence from the church after the church strengthened its prohibitions against same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ+ clergy. In its lawsuit against the university, the South Central Jurisdictional Conference opposed the changes and argued that SMU’s governance documents permanently grant the church “many valuable rights,” including rights to appoint and terminate trustees, to veto efforts to sell real estate, and to block any amendments to the university’s articles of incorporation.
As first reported by UM News, a United Methodist news source, Judge Maricela Moore ruled last month in favor of SMU, dismissing the jurisdictional conference’s claims. The South Central Jurisdictional Conference is appealing the decision.