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Presbyterian church strikes down gay marriage bid

Presbyterian church votes to study same sex marriage
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After three hours of debate, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) kept marriage defined as a union between a man and woman and did not repeal a ban on the officiation of gay weddings.

As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, on 6 July a 52 percent majority did not approve of a proposal that called marriage 'a covenant between two people.'

The vote means ministers who perform same sex weddings, even in states where the unions are legal, can face censure.

A recommendation for a two year study on the "theology of marriage' was approved.

The vote didn't seem to make either side happy.

'It was rather surprising,' said Mateen Elass, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Okla. 'It’s inevitable that at some point our General Assembly will vote in favor of redefining marriage. This decision has just given some respite to the denomination before it faces an onslaught of departures.' Pastor Elass is against  changing the definition of marriage.

'The move to affirm long-term, committed, same-sex relationships … as blessings from God is both the right way to go in the long-run, and inevitable,' said Rick Ufford-Chase, a former moderator of the General Assembly, in an email to the Christian Science Monitor. 'There are more and more people, of all ages, who are changing their minds about this important matter.'

Last year gay, non-celibate, Presbyterian ministers were allowed to serve openly.

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