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Delegates at the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted Thursday in Minneapolis to advance a proposal to allow gay clergy, but they decided against allowing same-sex marriages by a narrow margin. The gay clergy proposal now must be approved by a majority of the church's 173 presbyteries, which rejected a similar measure two years ago.
According to the Associated Press, "Both of Thursday's votes were close. Fifty-one percent of delegates voted to shelve the proposal to redefine marriage as being between 'two people' instead of between 'a man and a woman,' just hours after 53 percent of them voted to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy."
A motion to reconsider the marriage vote failed by a wider margin Friday, the AP reported. Church committees will spend the next two years until the next general assembly reviewing the issue.
With 2.8 million members the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the 10th largest church in the United States.