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News & Politics News & Politics

Presbyterians in U.S. to allow gay marriage ceremonies

Posted by on Jun. 19, 2014 at 9:16 PM
  • 43 Replies

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Presbyterians in U.S. to allow gay marriage ceremonies

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DETROIT — At their gathering in Detroit, the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States voted to allow their clergy to perform same-sex marriages.

Members of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), an influential mainline Protestant group, voted at Cobo Center for the first time to allow ministers to perform them.

The Presbyterians are now one of the biggest Christian groups in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriages.

According to Religion News Service, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church voted to allow pastors to perform gay marriages wherever they are legal by a vote of 76% to 24%.

In two overwhelming votes, the nation's sixth-largest Protestant denomination approved the practice in the 19 states where same-sex marriage is legal and approved presbytery-by-presbytery decisions to change the definition of marriage from a man and a woman to two people.

The amendment requires approval from a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries, which will vote on the change over the next year.

In 2011, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved ordaining clergy with same-sex partners. Since then, 428 of the denomination's more than 10,000 churches have left for other more conservative denominations or have dissolved. The church now has about 1.8 million members.

Given that Presbyterians are historically an influential denomination, the vote could persuade other Christian groups to follow, say experts.

Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a gay advocacy group, said the decisions Thursday were "an answer to many prayers" of same-sex couples.

"We will keep praying that the majority of our 172 presbyteries will confirm that all loving couples can turn to their churches when they are ready to be married," McNeill said.

The conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee decried the votes in Detroit as an "abomination."

"The General Assembly has committed an express repudiation of the Bible, the mutually agreed upon Confessions of the PCUSA, thousands of years of faithfulness to God's clear commands and the denominational ordination vows of each concurring commissioner," the committee said in a statement.

Of the mainline Protestant denominations, only the United Church of Christ supports gay marriage outright. The Episcopal Church has approved a prayer service for blessing same-sex unions. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has eliminated barriers for gay clergy but allows regional and local church officials to decide their own policies on ordination.

The largest mainline group, the United Methodist Church, with about 7.8 million U.S. members, bars ordaining people in same-sex relationships. However, church members have been debating whether to split over their different views of the Bible and marriage, because gay marriage supporters have been recruiting clergy to openly officiate at same-sex ceremonies in protest of church policy.

The votes come during a week when a number of religious groups filed legal briefs in a federal court in Ohio in support of the right of same-sex couples to marry, in a case involving an Oakland County, Mich., lesbian couple.

Two briefs were filed in support Monday in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati that represented dozens of faith-based organizations and clergy. One of them was filed by the Jewish group Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Japanese-American and other groups who back the right to gay marriage.

The other brief was led by Michigan's four Episcopal bishops on behalf of liberal Mormon, Lutheran, Methodist, Unitarian, and Jewish groups.

by on Jun. 19, 2014 at 9:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Raintree
by Gold Member on Jun. 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM
Yes we did!
PamR
by Platinum Member on Jun. 19, 2014 at 10:56 PM
1 mom liked this

This is one of the largest denominations in the country. A significant victory. 

jobseeker
by Bronze Member on Jun. 19, 2014 at 11:28 PM

 well I guess that settles it then

PamR
by Platinum Member on Jun. 19, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Change happens in increments. 

Quoting jobseeker:

 well I guess that settles it then


PamR
by Platinum Member on Jun. 20, 2014 at 10:56 AM

BUMP!

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Jun. 20, 2014 at 11:04 AM
3 moms liked this
I feel about this as I always have. Gay marriage should be legal everywhere in the USA and any religious group that thinks it is against their religion should not be forced to perform such marriages.

I am glad that gay Presbyterians will be able to have their marriages blessed within the churches they call home.
tattedmommy730
by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2014 at 11:05 AM
1 mom liked this

no problems with this

PamR
by Platinum Member on Jun. 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting romalove: I feel about this as I always have. Gay marriage should be legal everywhere in the USA and any religious group that thinks it is against their religion should not be forced to perform such marriages. I am glad that gay Presbyterians will be able to have their marriages blessed within the churches they call home.

I agree.  I am happy to see the church I grew up in has adopted this policy.  As one of the largest denominations in the country, I think it will have an influence on others as they work through this issue.

latashac
by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2014 at 12:34 PM
I kind of thought they would be first. Hopefully others follow suit.
1stmuslimah
by Gold Member on Jun. 21, 2014 at 12:27 AM

I think they have been doing it for many years. Them and Methodist. I have a friend of about 20 years at least since sometime in my teens. His son is gay. I don't know the son except for meating him 2 or 3 times but the father mentions what is going on in the community quite often. Back as far as I can remember in the 90's they were performing gaymarriages. Of course they were not legal just symbolic but I am sure they consider it a real marriage valid under God. I know because my friend (the father) invited me out way back in the 90's which is not unusual we still go out for lunch or coffee regularly.. I had no idea we were going to someones home where they were preforming a marriage. I would not have gone if I knew where we were going. I was surprised that it was an actual priest performing it. It was a women and she had the black and white color so I assumed she was Presbyterian.For those like myself who do not hang out in the gay community something like that was unheard of back then.

 

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