After nearly four hours of debate, the
2 million member Presbyterian Church (USA) narrowly voted down a gay
At the Church's biennial convention in
Pittsburgh, proponents of marriage equality proposed a constitutional
change which would expand the definition of marriage to include gay
and lesbian couples. Church delegates voted against the measure
338-308, the AP reported.
The Church's Civil Union and Marriage
Issues Committee voted in favor of the change on Thursday night.
Opponents warned that the move would
create a division between the Church and other more conservative
Presbyterian churches outside the U.S., while backers argued that the
Church should lead by example.
The proposal threatened to “tear the
Church apart,” Michael Wilson told the General Assembly.
“[T]he Church doesn't ask us to do
what others approve of, it asks us to do what is right” said Piper
Currently, Presbyterian ministers can
bless the unions of gay couples so long as ceremonies are not
structured as weddings.
At its last convention in Minneapolis,
delegates followed the recommendation of its Church Orders and
Ministry Committee and voted in favor of allowing non-celibate gay
clergy, a policy change decades in the making.
Anderson ordained Presbyterian Church's first gay minister.)