Presbyterians Take Step Toward Ordaining Homosexual Clergy
For those who keep saying that the ordination of women has no bearing on the issue of the ordination of homsexuals, please note the comment in bold/itals (emphasis mine) in the story below.
Presbyterians take step towards ordaining homosexual clergy
By Chris Herlinger
New York, 9 July (ENI)–The general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved a measure that would allow those in committed same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.
The proposed change to the denomination’s polices must still be approved by the U.S. church’s 173 presbyteries. In 2009, 94 of the local bodies voted against the change following a similar decision by the 2008 general assembly.
Proponents of the measure said the move that was made on 8 July is a historic step that puts the Presbyterian Church on the right side of history.
The denomination, meeting for its 219th assembly in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also debated whether to broaden its definition of marriage to include people in same-sex relationships.
The assembly, however, voted to maintain the current definition of marriage – between a man and a woman – in its constitution.
Lacy Morris, a delegate to the assembly quoted by the Presbyterian News Service, said that on the issue of ordination, the church had to decide which was worse: possible division or failing to do what was right.
“We’re talking about history, but we need to talk about the future,” Morris said, noting that the ordination of women also risked divisions, but had proven to be the right decision.
There was no immediate comment from traditionalist groups within the denomination about the move, though on its Web site, Presbyterians for Renewal, had said the previous day that “the news is not good from the Twin Cities” (of Minneapolis and St. Paul).
The move would change language for the denomination’s Book of Order, which only permits ordination for those who are either married or celibate.
If approved by the two-million-member denomination, which is the 10th largest in the United States, the church would join a number of Protestant denominations, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, that in recent years have changed their ordination rules regarding gay and lesbian clergy.
Debates over the issue of sexuality have proved contentious, though, and have caused splits within the U.S. Episcopal (Anglican) Church and between it and other Anglican churches elsewhere in the world. [360 words]
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