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Presbyterians Overwhelmingly Approve Marriage Equality

Presbyterians Overwhelmingly Approve Marriage Equality

The largest Presbyterian denomination in the nation, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Tuesday approved a marriage resolution on that amends its constitution to accept same-sex marriages.

A voice vote held in New Jersey had 86 regional bodies approving the new resolution and 41 opposed (one presbytery had a tie vote), reports The New York Times. The church, which claims 1.8 million members and is based in Kentucky, has been moving to the left in the past few years; it cleared the way for partnered gay and lesbian pastors, elders, and deacons four years ago.

The latest change in policy also means Presbyterian ministers who previously performed same-sex marriages will not be prosecuted for ecclesiastical crimes by the church.

The new policy is a measured change. Conservative ministers will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages, while the new constitution will not be altered that drastically. The church previously considered marriage as between "a man and a woman," while the new language considers marriage as a union of "two people, traditionally a man and a woman."

The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Quakers are some of the other denominations that have opened the door to same-sex marriage. The Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism have also hopped on the bandwagon.

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