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Tulsa megachurch
splits with Presbyterians over gays

Tulsa megachurch
splits with Presbyterians over gays

A megachurch in Tulsa, Okla., has severed ties with the Presbyterian Church USA over its apparent support for openly gay pastors. Just over 1,000 members of Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church turned out Wednesday night and voted 967-36 to affirm a vote by church elders to leave. The vote could incite a legal battle involving the church's nearly 3,000 members.

After voting to sever ties with the mother church, the group then voted to request affiliation with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The members also affirmed reverends Tom Gray and Wayne Hardy as copastors of Kirk of the Hills.

Calls for the votes came after national leaders decided to allow local churches the option of setting aside ordination requirements that prohibit gay ministers. "I think that most of the mainline denominations are going to be far more liberal in a few years than they even are today, so we're not the only church considering this," Gray said, according to Tulsa's KOTV.

The legal dispute is over who holds the title to Kirk of the Hills' eight-acre property. The church has filed a lawsuit against the national denomination, which says it owns the real estate. Tulsa members say they paid for the property. Gray said there may still be room to negotiate, noting that the church does not want to see a court battle. (AP contributed to this report)

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