This article comes to us courtesy of California Watch.

By Adithya Sambamurthy and Matt Smith

Methodists are among the last mainline Protestant holdouts on the topic of homosexuality. Karen Oliveto, pastor of San Francisco's Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, is bound and determined to change that at the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Fla., just steps away from the site of the Republican National Convention. Similar to a political convention, the question of whether homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching will be the subject of intense lobbying, heated debate, close committee votes and, if Oliveto and the progressive faction are successful, a decision on the convention floor.

But the conservatives, bolstered by large and rapidly growing Methodist congregations in Africa, are just as determined - and they believe they have the Old Testament on their side. The two factions are destined for a showdown at the convention. This is the story of what happened.

Adithya Sambamurthy and Matt Smith are investigative reporters for California Watch, a project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. Find more California Watch stories here.

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