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Largest Presbyterian group in US approves gay marriage

Largest Presbyterian group in US approves gay marriage

The largest Presbyterian group in the US has approved a change to its constitution to allow gay marriage.

Last summer, the Presbyterian Church (USA) governing body voted to redefine marriage as a ‘commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.’

But approval was required a majority of the 171 regional bodies to ratify the change. The critical 86th yes vote came Tuesday (17 March) night from the Palisades Presbytery in New Jersey.

‘Today, we can bring our whole selves to church,’ said Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a national network of LGBTI Presbyterians.

‘Ratification is not the end; it is the continuation of ongoing sacred conversations. This is the next step in our long journey to minister to all of our people.’

Kentucky-based PC (USA) is now the largest Protestant group to recognize gay marriage. The denomination claims 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations.

Forty-one presbyteries have so far rejected the redefinition, which includes a provision that clergy will not be forced to preside over gay marriages.

The change will take effect on 21 June after the remaining presbyteries vote and church leaders officially accept the results.