John M. Becker

Presbyterian Church USA Approves Marriage Equality

Filed By John M. Becker | March 18, 2015 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), same-sex marriage

presbyterian-church-usa-logo-color.jpgYesterday, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) -- the largest branch of the Presbyterian Church -- gave final approval to a change in the church's constitution that includes same-sex couples in the definition of marriage.

The New York Times reports:

The final approval by a majority of the church's 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church's General Assembly. The vote amends the church's constitution to broaden marriage from being between "a man and a woman" to "two people, traditionally a man and a woman."

The Presbytery of the Palisades, meeting in Fair Lawn, N.J., put the ratification count over the top on Tuesday on a voice vote. With many presbyteries still left to vote, the tally late Tuesday stood at 87 presbyteries in favor, 41 against and one tied.

"Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community," said the Rev. Brian D. Ellison, executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which advocates gay inclusion in the church. "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 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to allow gay and lesbian clergy in 2011, triggering an exodus from conservative members and congregations upset by greater LGBT inclusion. But as the Times notes, the departure of many of the denomination's conservatives may have allowed the marriage vote to turn out the way it did, in favor of inclusion and equality.

Congratulations to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for doing the right thing and embracing marriage equality for all their members.

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