Presbyterians Reject More Inclusive Marriage Definition

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on July 06 2012 9:48 PM ET

Delegates to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s national conference Friday narrowly voted against changing the denomination’s definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

“The Presbyterian General Assembly, meeting in Pittsburgh, voted 338-308 against changing how marriage was defined in the church constitution from a ‘civil contract between a woman and a man’ to a ‘covenant between two people,’” the Associated Press reports.

The church generally allows clergy to bless same-sex unions as long as they are not characterized as marriages. However, with more and more states legalizing same-sex marriage, Presbyterian clergy report being asked to perform marriage ceremonies but fearing church discipline if they do so.

“While it is disappointing that the church missed this historic opportunity to move toward full inclusion, the fact that so many Presbyterians from around the country called for the church to recognize love between committed same-gender couples was awe-inspiring to see,” said Michael J. Adee, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, which works for LGBT equality within the church. “We have more work to do to show those who oppose full inclusion how truly wonderful the gifts that committed, married same-sex couples bring to our church. We’re inspired by the progress we’ve made together and are just as committed to continuing this work, together.”

Meanwhile, Episcopalians, meeting for their General Convention in Indianapolis, are expected to approve a new liturgy for blessing same-sex unions, at least on a trial basis. Read more here.