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Presbyterian Church Leaders Say ‘I Do’ to Gay Marriage

Members of the LGBT community were celebrating in Detroit Thursday as leaders changed the church’s definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

Delegates of the Presbyterian Church approved a major policy shift allowing its clergy to marry same-sex couples. The policy still needs final approval from the Church’s 72 Presbyteries. (Patch file photo)
Delegates of the Presbyterian Church approved a major policy shift allowing its clergy to marry same-sex couples. The policy still needs final approval from the Church’s 72 Presbyteries. (Patch file photo)

The Presbyterian Church, the nation’s largest Christian denomination, announced a monumental policy shift in Detroit Thursday and said its clergy could begin officiating at same-sex ceremonies, The Huffington Post reports.

The decision comes after decades of debate on the controversial topic and allows pastors to officiate weddings in parts of the country – 19 states and the District of Columbia –  where same-sex marriage is legal. The Presbyterian Church gathered at the biennial General Assembly that took place in Detroit.

With 1.76 million-members, leaders of the Presbyterian Church assembled to make changes to the “Book of Order,” a document outlining the denomination’s form of government, directory of worship, and formula of agreement, among other things.  

On a 429-175  vote by the delegates, the Book of Order will now consider marriage as being between “two people.”  

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“A lot of our ministries are standing at that crossroads, really wanting to minister to everyone in their congregation but unable to perform the weddings of some of their most faithful people,” Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterian, told WJBK, Channel 2.

The change creates opportunity for gay marriage in all 10,000 of the Presbyterian churches.

But one more hurdle must be cleared before the decision is final. It must be approved by 172 regional bodies, called Presbyteries, before it takes effect. The process could take up to a year.

The decision is seen as a triumph by the LGBT community in Michigan, where a historic ruling turning back a 10-year ban on same-sex marriage is on appeal in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


laplateau June 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Both Bruce and Luther are spot on in their comments. To me this is extremely disturbing. I have been a Presbyterian all my life. I am a Deacon and an Elder in the church. Over the past decade or two, the Presbyterian Church has slowly, but surely, edged away further and further from Biblical standards. This is the ultimate step away that makes me consider requesting the Presbytery of Detroit to remove my name from their rolls. The question of homosexuality is addressed many places in the Bible, both in the old and new testaments, none of which sanction the activity. To sanction it within the church is a sacrilege. I am a Christian and I absolutely believe in hating the sin, but loving the sinner. After all, Jesus Christ came to earth as God in the form of a man, gave his life for all sinners, asking only we believe in him, ask for forgiveness of our sins, and do our best to live a Christian life. For those that claim we are not to judge, I agree with them. That is ultimately God's place. But, we are obliged to discern, right from wrong, according to scripture. I am not a gay hater, but I do not agree with so many people that claim we should simply take the "it's your thing, do what you wanna do", or "you're ok / I'm ok" attitude and let something like this slide as being normal just because two people love each other. Those that agree with the newest stance of the Presbyterian Church, I respect and don’t mean this as a challenge to your beliefs or as an impetus for argument, but to only express my thoughts as you have. I only hope that someday you will change your mind. God bless you all!
Ernie McLaughlin June 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM
Courtney, The Presbyterian Church is not the largest Christian denomination in the US. There are about 2 million Presbyterians in the US and 75 million Catholics in the US. Based on this recent decision on gay marriage there may be a dramatic decrease in the 2 million members
Patricia Kirschling June 21, 2014 at 11:23 PM
"Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God's Kingdom." 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 The Bible's view on homosexuality is more important than any human opinion, because it gives us the thoughts of mankind's Creator. The Presbyterian Church must not care how our Creator feels about this. That's why I became one of Jehovah's Witnesses, they actually LIVE what the Bible teaches.
Glenn Harris June 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Clarification is in order: there are several Presbyterian denominations, and it was only the PCUSA that came to this decision. For example, the EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) and the OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) do not endorse this. For the record, I am not Presbyterian (I'm Jewish), but I know what it feels like to be miscategorized and misjudged.
Robert June 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Why do any of their members even bother getting up and going to church on Sunday. This is completely un-Biblical and sinful. Revelation is upon us.

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