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Yes. Allowing ordination to be decided regionally would create legal problems for the church. To allow ordination regionally would be tantamount to an admission that it is not an issue of faithfulness to Scripture, not a matter of conscience, but merely a matter of cultural preference. After such a vote, any region that did not want to ordain women would be beyond the help of a religious exception to non-discrimination legislation.

It would be difficult to get religious exemption from a non-discrimination law when the church’s highest governing body has effectively stated that female ordination is not a religious question but a cultural one. In addition, the church will be opening itself up to several different kinds of lawsuits.

Suppose a woman who is hired and ordained as a minister in one conference desires to pastor in another conference that does not recognize women’s ordination. This could be grounds for gender discrimination allegations. Or suppose that during an interview process, two candidates are interviewed, one being male and the other female.

If the male candidate is hired, there will always be a suspicion of discrimination based on gender. Inversely, if a woman is hired and a man had applied for the same position and believes himself to be better qualified, will he sue complaining of reverse discrimination?

By recognizing only males as ordination candidates, such gender-discrimination allegations are silenced. Furthermore, all employers that hire men and women for the same position look to the relative proportion of each. If the company has not hired as many women as men, then when deciding between the two equally qualified candidates, the company will hire the female candidate just to achieve statistical balance.

(This, by the way, is why some churches that have agreed to ordain women have gone fairly quickly to a nearly 50/50 distribution of male and female pastors.) Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church wish to be in the position of hiring for appearances’ sake, rather than letting the Holy Spirit indicate which men should be hired to preside over the Lord’s churches?