A San Francisco woman
who has been trying for nearly 25 years to become an ordained
minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as
an out lesbian will have her case heard in a church
court on Friday.
Lisa Larges will be
represented by lawyers at an Oakland hotel in a hearing that
some consider pivotal to the future of gay and lesbian
leadership in the Presbyterian Church (USA), which has more
than 2 million members.
The church constitution
requires that ordained ministers be married to someone of the
opposite sex or be celibate, a policy that
has effectively served to preclude openly gay
and lesbian candidates from becoming ordained.
Nevertheless, a handful of ministers already
ordained by the church have subsequently come out to their
congregations and served openly.
Since 2006, despite the
constitutional ban, the national church has left the question
of whether or not to ordain openly gay and lesbian ministers up
to regional bodies. If ordained, Larges would be the first
representative of the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s halting
steps toward inclusion.
An evaluation of the
policy is currently under way by all 173 presbyteries in the
Larges, who is blind,
has been able to advance her candidacy in the past by
claiming a conscientious objection, with the approval of her
regional church authority, the San Francisco Presbytery.
However, in each of her previous attempts, she has been blocked
from proceeding further because of her sexual orientation.
"I just want to use this as an opportunity to say, hey, we
are here, we want to help the church. And to give the church
another opportunity to invite us in," Larges told