The majority of Church of Scotland presbyteries have backed the appointment of gay ministers.
32 of 45 of the governing bodies across Scotland said ministers and deacons who are in a civil partnership should be allowed to apply to vacant spots.
This is not the final decision, with that taking place in May at the Edinburgh General Assembly.
A total of 1,391 presbytery members voted in favour and 1,153 against, resulting in a 54.6%-45.4% split.
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling presbyteries backed the proposals.
Falkirk, Kirkcaldy and Inverness voted against.
It has been an issue for the Church of Scotland since four years ago when General Assembly members attempted to block the appointment of gay Reverend Scott Rennie, who was in a same-sex relationship, to a new parish. The majority voted in favor of Rennie.
Since then, they introduced an interim ban on ordaining other gay ministers until a special commission studied the matter. The ban was then lifted in 2011.
Several congregations have left the Church over the issue.