The Presbyterian Church on Tuesday voted to change its constitution to allow the ordination of gays as ministers, elders and deacons, becoming the fourth Protestant denomination in the United States to allow openly gay clergy.
On Tuesday, the Twin Citites Area presbytery, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, became the 87th presbytery — and the deciding vote — to approve an amendment that will remove the constitutional requirement that all ministers, elders and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”
The change, which opens up the possibility that people in same-sex relationships can be considered for ordination, is expected to take effect starting on July 10. It is the latest move by a Protestant denomination toward the inclusion of gay and lesbian clergy.
The outcome is a reversal from only two years ago, when a majority of the church’s regions, known as presbyteries, voted against ordaining openly gay candidates.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins a growing bloc of historic, mainline Protestant churches that have voted to accept gay clergy members and church leaders — a bloc that includes the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church, reported The New York Times.
The church has 2.3 million members in 50 states and Puerto Rico.