The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) has rejected a call to change its definition of marriage to “a covenant between two people,” but will continue to allow the ordination of openly gay clergy.
The church voted 338-330 on Friday at its bi-annual General Assembly meeting in Pittsburgh to retain the definition of marriage as “a civil contract between a woman and a man.”
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Rick Ufford-Chase, a former General Assembly Moderator, told the Christian Science Monitor in an email that the church is just prolonging the inevitable.
“The move to affirm long-term, committed, same-sex relationships… as blessings from God is both the right way to go in the long-run, and inevitable,” he said. “There are more and more people, of all ages, who are changing their minds about this important manner,” he said.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), with around 2 million members, currently allows ministers to bless gay unions, but prohibits them from solemnizing same-sex civil marriages.
Since lifting the ban on openly gay clergy, dozens of the Church’s congregations have left the denomination, citing the liberal direction of the church body.
The issue of same-sex marriage and gay clergy continues to divide the Church, and likely will be on the table for the General Assembly meeting in 2014.