Presbyterian Church (USA) votes down marriage equality

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The 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted against a marriage equality proposal.

The civil union and marriage committee at the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) had voted in favor of amending the church’s directory of worship to change the definition of marriage from a “man and a woman” to “two persons.” The directory of worship is part of the Book of Order, the Presbyterian Church (USA) constitution.

The general assembly, however, rejected the committee’s recommendation and voted 308-338 against the proposal and will not change the church’s definition of marriage.

The general assembly did, after about four hours of debate, vote for a proposal calling for two years of  "serious study and discernment" regarding Christian marriage.

"While we are thrilled with yet another study, it doesn’t give any relief to those of us in states where same-sex marriage is legal," said Karen Bartel, a ruling elder from the Presbytery of East Iowa.

Also, earlier in the week, the committee narrowly voted down a proposal that would have allowed Presbyterians ministers to officiate gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies in states that have marriage equality.

For now, reports the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, there is no official resolution of the pastoral crisis many affirming Presbyterian ministers are experiencing in states that recognize gay and lesbian couples’ unions.

The committee vote was 24-26.

The general assembly in Pittsburgh began June 30 and ends July 7.

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