Detroit, MI – Today, the 221st General Assembly of the nearly two million member Presbyterian Church (USA) made history as it affirmed the marriages of same-sex couples.
The Assembly voted 429 to 175 to update the language about marriage from a "man and a woman" to "two persons" in the PC(USA) constitution.
It will only become church law, if approved by a majority of 172 presbyteries. Then all couples can turn to their home churches to ask to be married.
“The Church affirmed all its faithful members today. This vote is an answer to many prayers for the Church to recognize love between committed same-sex couples,” said Alex McNeill, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians. “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.”
In another historic move, commissioners approved an Authoritative Interpretation which permits ministers to marry same-sex couples while the constitutional amendment works its way through the presbyteries.
With the landslide of states affirming marriage equality, ministers no longer will be required to turn their own congregants away for fear of being put on trial.
“The theme of this General Assembly is 'Abound in Hope.' For more than thirty years, LGBTQ people have lived in the hope that the church that baptized us would also bless our marriages,” said the Rev. Robin White, Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians. “Today, the Presbyterian Church (USA) took a bold step to fully include same-sex couples in the life of the church.”
Almost half of the clergy in the Presbyterian Church (USA), serve in areas where same-sex couples can legally marry. There are currently 19 states and Washington DC that offer the freedom to marry.
Co-Moderator, and Ruling Elder Nathan Sobers said, “As a gay man in a committed relationship for 27 years, I celebrate with Presbyterians and fair-minded people everywhere. Today the Presbyterian Church (USA) has taken the next step toward affirming same-sex couples who want to covenant together in marriage.”
Photo via flickr user Glenn Halog