In a huge move for same-sex marriages, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted and approved to recognize same-sex marriages and allow gay couples to marry in its congregations. In the vote, the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States agreed to change the church constitution on marriage to include “a commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman”.
Within the Presbyterian Church, there are 171 regional bodies and this recommendation was brought up by its General Assembly a year ago. After the vote on Tuesday night, the change was approved by a majority of the church’s regional bodies. Currently, 87 are in favor of the change and 41 are against it with one being tied. To put a better perspective on how huge this is, the denomination has approximately 1.8 million members and 10,000 congregations.
Rev. Brian D. Ellison, the Executive Director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, has been fighting for equal rights for gay couples in the church and he was ecstatic with this news: “Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community.”
This is a small victory for gay and lesbian couples, however it does not guarantee that they will be able to get married in a Presbyterian church. The vote approves the changing of wording in the church constitution, but there is also a provision that states no clergy member would be forced to preside over a same-sex marriage.