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Largest Presbyterian Church Votes To Adopt Same-Sex Marriage

Largest Presbyterian Church Votes To Adopt Same-Sex Marriage

Gay Presb Church

Redefinition of marriage comes after decades of debate and liberalization

Photo: By Drama Queen (Church of the Pilgrims) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the Presbyterian Church (United States of America) voted to adopt a new definition of marriage that includes same-sex couples. Having received support from the majority of the church's 171 presbyteries (regional bodies), the constitution will be altered to to redefine marriage as a union between "two people, traditionally a man and a woman." The move comes a year after the General Assembly recommended such a change, and after decades of debate on the place of LGBT congregants.

Rev. Brian D. Ellison, an advocate for gay inclusion in the church, celebrated the victory:

"Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community."

However, both supporters and opponents of the change acknowledge that there will be consequences. At 1.8 million, the church is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country. It's population began shrinking, however, in 2011, after the church decided to allow for the ordination of gays and lesbians as pastors, elders and deacons.

Paul Detterman is the national director of The Fellowship Community, a group of conservatives who have stayed in the church. While he insists that he plans on remaining a member, he beleives that the issue will remain controverisal.

"Our objection to the passage of the marriage amendment is in no way, shape or form anti-gay. It is in no way intended as anything but concern that the church is capitulating to the culture and is misrepresenting the message of Scripture."

"We definitely will see another wave, a sizable wave, of conservative folks leaving."

Within the United States, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches and Reform and Conservative Judaism officially allow for their religious leaders to marry same-sex couples. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America allows for individual ministers to decide.

(H/T New York Times)

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