The Presbyterian Church (USA) has
approved changes to its constitution allowing it to recognize the
marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
Last year, church officials agreed to
changes that would allow clergy to marry gay couples in the 37
states, plus the District of Columbia, where it is legal.
A majority of regional presbyteries
were needed for the amendment to take effect.
The amendment reached its needed
majority of “yes” votes from at least 86 presbyteries on Tuesday.
The Rev. Robin White of More Light
Presbyterians, which lobbied for the change, applauded passage.
“So many families headed by LGBTQ
couples have been waiting for decades to enter this space created by
their families within the church communities,” White said.
The change will take effect June 21,
after all regional bodies finish voting and the votes are tallied.
With nearly 1.8 million members, the
Presbyterian Church becomes the largest Protestant group to allow gay
couples to marry churchwide.
The Episcopal Church and the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America allow congregations to decide
the issue without formally recognizing marriage equality.