Presbyterian Church allows gay ordination

I knew that the vote was coming, but I didn’t know what the outcome until I saw the news stories about the Presbyterian church allowing gays to serve as ministers and lay leaders:

“A debate that has raged within the Presbyterian Church for more than three decades culminated Tuesday with ratification of a measure allowing the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers and lay leaders, while giving regional church bodies the ability to decide for themselves.

“With the vote of its regional organization in Minnesota, the Presbyterian Church USA became the fourth mainline Protestant church to allow gay ordination, following the Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches and the United Church of Christ.”

The MSNBC story actually gave the best description I saw of the process:

“The change to the Presbyterian Church constitution was approved last summer by the church’s General Assembly, its governing body. But under church rules, such changes must then be ratified by a majority of the 173 regional organizations known as presbyteries.

“Late Tuesday, at a meeting in St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb, the Twin Cities Presbytery put the measure over the top with a vote of 205 to 56, becoming the 87th regional body to vote yes. About 90 minutes later, the Pacific Presbytery, representing parts of Southern California and all of Hawaii, added its voice, voting 102 to 60 in favor.

“It was the fourth time the church had voted on issues related to gay ordination, and the votes reflect a shift in attitudes within the church, and within American society, as public attitudes against homosexuality have softened. Since the last time the matter was brought to a vote, in 2008-09, some 19 presbyteries have switched their votes from ‘no’ to ‘yes,’ including some in relatively conservative parts of the country, such as central Nebraska and northern Alabama.”

The More Light Presbyterians, who have been working “for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA),” explain the specific language.

I’m happy about the vote, but also relieved. Truth is that there have been a number of gay Presbyterian elders and deacons across the country. They or their congregations had been in technical violation of church polity, and theoretically could have been brought up on charges, as has happened to some pastors in various Protestant denominations, though it would be unlikely to actually take place in the Presbyterian church without some additional issues involved.

Actually, I suppose it was more the theological disconnect, such as the Catholic church’s teachings on contraception versus poll after poll noting that about 70% of the church ignores the policy.

Here’s an article on this topic from
A National Hockey League player for marriage equality.

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