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Guest kerri
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Hello,

Our small church is divided on topics which require a 2/3 vote to change bylaws/constitution and possibly leave our current denomination. There has been some confusion as some members seem to believe that there would need to be 2/3 vote just to leave things as they are. As I read Robert's Rules, I believe it means a 2/3 vote to make changes. Can someone help clarify this for me? Thank you.

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You are correct, it requires a 2/3 vote to make amendments (AKA, changes) to your bylaws.   (This presumes that your bylaws either require 2/3 or say that Robert's Rules is the default.)

Any vote on an amendment that comes in at less than 2/3 in favor (of those votes cast) is simply a defeat of the motion and things remain the same.

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44 minutes ago, Guest kerri said:

No. Their argument was that in order to keep what existed, there would also need to be 2/3 not wanting the change. Thus leaving it in limbo. 

 

Their argument doesn't make common sense, let alone parliamentary sense.  Are all decisions always in limbo if there's not 2/3 on either side?  If there was a 2/3 vote to keep something in place yesterday, when do they think uncertainty again sets in, requiring the issue to be in limbo until another 2/3 vote is taken?  Does it last a week, a month, a year...?

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44 minutes ago, Guest kerri said:

No. Their argument was that in order to keep what existed, there would also need to be 2/3 not wanting the change. Thus leaving it in limbo. 

 

Well, that's interesting! Just exactly what do they think would happen if there isn't a two thirds vote to change denominations or to stay the same??  

Again, you don't vote on maintaining the status quo. You vote only on changing something. If the vote to change fails, then things stay the same. 

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14 hours ago, Guest kerri said:

No. Their argument was that in order to keep what existed, there would also need to be 2/3 not wanting the change. Thus leaving it in limbo. 

I don’t really understand what this “in limbo” is supposed to mean, but it is not correct in any event. After the vote is taken, the bylaws are either amended or they are not.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Thank you all for your input. It has been helpful.  I can offer a little more information for inquiring minds. The church has been affiliated with the current denomination since the 1800's. Our current bylaws require a 2/3 vote to be changed and state that meetings are to follow Robert's Rules. A motion has been made to leave the denomination. A vote of the church members was scheduled but canceled due to a concern of whether it would be valid.  Current bylaws mention the denomination affiliation several times and we have been told that means that there would need to first be a motion to change the way the current bylaws read so as to not be in violation if a vote to leave the denomination passed. 

Either vote (one to leave the denomination or one to change the bylaws) will require a 2/3 vote. The way I understand Roberts Rules to read and as most of you seem to agree, that is 2/3 to amend. Those wanting to leave the denomination are arguing that if it requires 2/3 vote to leave, there should also be 2/3 required to stay. They are saying that because they do not think that there will be 2/3 either way, we should okay a simple majority vote.  

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31 minutes ago, Guest kerri said:

Those wanting to leave the denomination are arguing that if it requires 2/3 vote to leave, there should also be 2/3 required to stay. They are saying that because they do not think that there will be 2/3 either way, we should okay a simple majority vote.  

Then they're either being very silly, or being dishonest.  If they know full well it takes 2/3 to leave, they are being dishonest if they want to leave with a majority vote.  If they don't see the consequences of the absurdity they are discussing, they are being silly.

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1 hour ago, Guest kerri said:

Either vote (one to leave the denomination or one to change the bylaws) will require a 2/3 vote. The way I understand Roberts Rules to read and as most of you seem to agree, that is 2/3 to amend. Those wanting to leave the denomination are arguing that if it requires 2/3 vote to leave, there should also be 2/3 required to stay. They are saying that because they do not think that there will be 2/3 either way, we should okay a simple majority vote.  

If your bylaws require a 2/3 vote to leave, then a 2/3 vote is required. If the vote does not pass, then you stay. If a motion fails, the status quo continues.

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21 hours ago, Guest kerri said:

Thank you all for your input. It has been helpful.  I can offer a little more information for inquiring minds. The church has been affiliated with the current denomination since the 1800's. Our current bylaws require a 2/3 vote to be changed and state that meetings are to follow Robert's Rules. A motion has been made to leave the denomination. A vote of the church members was scheduled but canceled due to a concern of whether it would be valid.  Current bylaws mention the denomination affiliation several times and we have been told that means that there would need to first be a motion to change the way the current bylaws read so as to not be in violation if a vote to leave the denomination passed. 

Either vote (one to leave the denomination or one to change the bylaws) will require a 2/3 vote. The way I understand Roberts Rules to read and as most of you seem to agree, that is 2/3 to amend. Those wanting to leave the denomination are arguing that if it requires 2/3 vote to leave, there should also be 2/3 required to stay. They are saying that because they do not think that there will be 2/3 either way, we should okay a simple majority vote.  

That's nonsense.

If it takes 2/3 to leave, it obviously takes only 1/3 to stay.  That's not Robert's Rules, that's math.  If you do not get the requisite vote to amend the bylaws, then the bylaws are not amended, and everything stays the same.

It is not in order even to make a motion to keep things as they are, since the same thing can be accomplished by making no motion at all.

 

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  • 9 months later...
On 12/5/2017 at 8:03 AM, Gary Novosielski said:

If it takes 2/3 to leave, it obviously takes only 1/3 to stay

Well, any number > 1/3 to stay.

Guest kerri, the idea that a two-step process of leaving the denomination (re-writing the bylaws and then changing the denomination) means that you could be in limbo is wrong. The only purpose of step one (change the bylaws) seems to be to allow for step two. But you have not actually changed denominations until after Step 2 is adopted with a 2/3 vote. Unless and until Step 2 passes, you are with your current denomination and therefore not in limbo.

It is likely that you could do this all in one step, which would make it clear that you only need a two-thirds vote to change denominations, not to stay the same. A parliamentarian would need to look at your current bylaws to be able to advise if and how you could do it in one step.

 

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I have no idea why someone at this church thinks that this issue is a two-step process. Their bylaws state that "church X" is affiliated with "denomination A." One single motion to change "denomination A" to "denomination B" is all that is required. Previous notice and a two-thirds vote and you are done.

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I agree that this would be a one-step process, using the rules for bylaws amendment, and changing the bylaws to remove the name of the old denomination, and insert in place thereof the name of a new denomination--or, alternately, to remove all references to affiliation, and become an independent congregation.

If the amendment is adopted, the change goes into effect.  If it fails (by not achieving a 2/3 vote) then all remains as it was.

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