Largest Presbyterian Church in U.S. Approves Same-Sex Marriage
The nation’s largest collection of Presbyterians will now support gay marriage, despite opposition within the church.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), with 1.8 million members, recently voted to amend its constitution, which now will state that marriage is between “two people, traditionally a man and a woman,” instead of only stating it is between “a man and a woman.” A majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies approved the change, known as Amendment 14-F. Votes are still coming in, and so far the tally (pdf) that put the amendment over the top stands at 86 to 41 in favor.
Supporters of same-sex marriage within the church hailed the change.
“Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community,” Reverend Brian D. Ellison, executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, told The New York Times. “There is still disagreement, and I don’t mean to minimize that, but I think we are learning that we can disagree and still be church together.”
The church has lost members and entire parishes in recent years following earlier pro-gay changes, such as ordaining gays and lesbians as pastors, elders and deacons. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of parishes dropped from 10,959 to 10,038.
Paul Detterman, national director of The Fellowship Community, a group of conservatives in the church, told the newspaper that embracing gay marriage will result in “another wave, a sizable wave, of conservative folks leaving” the church.
Presbyterian ministers who object to the church’s recognition of gay marriage will not be required to preside at such weddings.
To Learn More:
Largest Presbyterian Denomination Gives Final Approval for Same-Sex Marriage (by Laurie Goodstein, New York Times)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Embraces LGBT-Inclusive Definition Of Marriage (by Carol Kuruvilla, Huffington Post)
United Church of Christ Sues North Carolina for Right to Perform Same Sex Marriages (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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