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Marriage equality demonstration
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly Thursday. Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal, and:
The church also voted, by an overwhelming majority, to change the language about marriage in the church constitution to "two persons" from a "man and a woman," according to More Light Presbyterians, a group that supports gay rights.

To take effect, that change would need to be approved by a majority of 172 local presbyteries, which have a year to vote, the church said in a statement. [...]

Close to half of the clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) work in areas where same-sex couples can legally marry.

The measures passed with strong majorities:
The convention hall fell silent as the vote counts were announced, in deference to a plea by the church’s moderator, leading the session, to be respectful of the divide.

“There were some of us with tears of joy, and some of us with tears of grief,” said the Rev. Susan De George, stated clerk of the Hudson River Presbytery, in New York, a lesbian minister who years ago was among those brought up on charges for blessing same-sex unions. “After the vote, the first thing I did was to text a friend on the other side of the issue.”

The PCUSA is not the first American religious denomination to embrace marriage equality, but each and every denomination to do so is a major step forward, especially as opponents of equality increasingly rely on "religious freedom" objections.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 08:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wonderful news! Thanks for posting this. :) (12+ / 0-)

    Stephen Colbert does superb satire. Pity those offended by it.

    by VirginiaJeff on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 09:47:46 AM PDT

  •  Boy, once a tipping point tips (9+ / 0-)

    everything starts falling like dominos!

    It's exciting to see major denominations getting on board as well as more and more legislatures and courts.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 10:34:28 AM PDT

    •  The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been working (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, commonmass, leevank, ejoanna, scott5js

      toward this for several years.  There are more conservative Presbyterian denominations, so as the more anti gay members left the PC(USA) to affiliate with the anti gay denominations it became possible for the pro equality group to prevail.

      For example, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second largest Presbyterian church body in the United States.  In addition to being anti gay, the PCA  is not too keen on women either, refusing to ordain them as teaching elders (pastors), ruling elders, or deacons.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 07:28:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A church fight in Houston (0+ / 0-)

        One of the larger congregations is the First Presbyterian Church on Main Street. About a year ago it ago it held an election to replace its leadership with a more conservative one. The conservative majority did not quite get the 2/3 majority needed to prevail, so there is an uneasy situation.
        I was raised in the Central Presbyterian Church which in my childhood was right next to the First church, but later moved away; the building was torn down. It was Northern Presbyterian. I think that First was Southern Presbyterian.
        I grew up with neighbors who were Unitarian/Universalist and in my 20's I joined.

        Censorship is rogue government.

        by scott5js on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 08:14:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More about it (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.chron.com/...

          This was a vote on splitting from the national Presbyterian church.

          Censorship is rogue government.

          by scott5js on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 09:01:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We attend a PC(USA) church in FL that had a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scott5js

          similar experience, except when the conservative group narrowly lost the vote, they left the church and started a new one outside PC(USA).  Unfortunately they left behind a large facility and big mortgage which the much smaller remaining congregation has been struggling to maintain.

          It happened in 2008, before we stared going there, but we have been very impressed with the church which has a congregation that is inclusive, caring, welcoming, and committed to mission and service.  Finances are still a struggle. but they are making steady progress to get into a more viable situation.

          “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

          by ahumbleopinion on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 11:51:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Now if it spreads (9+ / 0-)

    This development is good news. If it influences the Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, non-Southern Baptists, and other mainstream denominations it will be even better.

    •  Episcopalians do not object to same sex (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Munchkn, scott5js, Dirtandiron

      marriage ..in fact, the four Episcopal bishops of Michigan are advocating for same-sex marriage in that state.

      Our Bishop Vono has encouraged a young same-sex couple in our Texas parish to go to New Mexico and get married and then come back to our church and have a big ceremony of blessing for their union ....

      Forget any of the fundamentalists and the Roman Catholics ... they will fight and fight against it ...

      Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

      by moonbatlulu on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 07:02:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The interesting thing about the Episcopal Church (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Akskeptic

        is that quite a bit  of the time, the local Diocesan Bishop is from a different part of the country, as there is a wide search process. Our Bishop and the Dean of our Cathedral are both from away and both highly supportive of marriage equality and LGBT rights.

        So, in places where marriage equality and LGBT rights are lagging behind, there's a chance you have Bishops and clergy with a different point of view.

        SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

        by commonmass on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 07:30:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A big ceremony of blessing of the union is not a (0+ / 0-)

        nuptial mass.  The latter is a ceremony for first class communicants.  The former is for second class communicants.  My spouse and I are legally married in the State of California.  We cannot have the full benefits of membership in the Episcopal Church, so I have pretty much lost interest.

        Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

        by hawkseye on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:20:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  THe official position of the Episcopal Church (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Munchkn, librarisingnsf

      endorses marriage equality, LGBT rights in general, and has LGBT clergy. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America does as well.

      In fact, the Episcopal Church has designed a very beautiful rite for the marriage of same-sex couples which is currently in use where same sex marriage is legal, and I bet in other places as well.

      SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

      by commonmass on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 07:14:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it separate but equal? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

        by hawkseye on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:21:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes and no. It is beautiful, though, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody

          specifically acknowledges the dignity of same sex couples. Opposite sex couples, however, CANNOT us it. That is not meant as a "separate but equal" statement, but a "this speaks to the dignity of same sex couples" kind of thing.

          As Mother TrueBlue pointed out, there is more work to do on this rite. I think it is beautiful.

          SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

          by commonmass on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:37:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm happy for you that you think it is beautiful. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Woody

            To me, it is still separate but equal---which is decidedly not equal and an insult.  When my spouse and I, who have been together for 42 years and legally married in California for six years, are fully recognized by the Episcopal Church as equal to heterosexuals, we may return for the Office of Holy Matrimony with a Nuptial Mass.
            I understand the complexities involved in the politics of the greater Anglican Communion.  (My father was an Episcopal priest.)   And they are welcome to continue their un-Christian approach to accepting all as the children of God---without me to support them.

            Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

            by hawkseye on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 02:11:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  gotta love the presby's (5+ / 0-)

    .... says this non-practicing-jew gayboy.

    :)

    every adult is responsible for every child

    by ridemybike on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 06:47:39 PM PDT

  •  Hey for sec there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Flyswatterbanjo

    I though a front pager was going to take about Palestine and Israel. Back to reality.

  •  Not the first.... (3+ / 0-)

    but one of the largest, and one that is widely spread across the US, a mainstream denomination.

    I think it may be THE largest denomination to endorse marriage equality, does anyone know for sure?

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 06:51:17 PM PDT

  •  damn--they beat us! (3+ / 0-)

    our next General Convention is not until next summer

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 06:55:20 PM PDT

    •  Mother TrueBlue, did not the last General (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf

      Convention approve a rite for same-sex marriage? I mean, I have not only seen this document, but was married using it.

      Is there something I'm missing here, because last time I checked the Episcopal Church has been performing same-sex weddings for quite some time now and officially so in marriage equality states. If I'm wrong, someone ought to tell Tom Shaw or his successor.

      SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

      by commonmass on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 07:17:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  :) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, ejoanna

    Just :)

  •  I am pleased to say that my father was one of... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ejoanna, SheLawyer

    those who testified on Monday. At 74, he still amazes me with his compassion and wisdom. Not bad for a man who once voted for Nixon.

    •  I am thrilled by this news, although still sad (0+ / 0-)

      about my own denomination, the United Methodist Church, and its stand. However, my own Annual Conference (Cal-Nevada) has been busily and noisily protesting the General Conference stand for years.  We have made plain our dissent from the National Church--and our support for LGBTQ inclusion and equality.  "Burrowing from within", we are.  I'm not leaving this church I grew up in.  Many of us are struggling to bring it into the Light, with our brothers and sisters in the other Mainline churches.
      Amen!

      "Why you sockdologizing ol' mantrap, you!"

      by ejoanna on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 10:38:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You've got another problem in the Methodist Church (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ejoanna

        Your General Conference is an international body where many of the voting delegates (or whatever their title is) come from outside the United States or western Europe. Attitudes in most of the developing world are much different than they are in the U.S. and western Europe. I suspect this change might have already been made, or would be made at your next General Conference, if all or nearly all of the delegates were from the United States. And by the same token, I doubt that either the PC(USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or the Episcopal Church would have come nearly as far as they have if their governing bodies were more international.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:35:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I'm very aware of that. It's a terrible (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leevank, scott5js, Akskeptic, Dancing Frog

          conundrum because widening power (so to speak) to the Church outside the US is an inclusive move, but the social attitudes in much of the African and Asian Methodist world are, to put it mildly, regressive.  The Southern US tier of our denomination is in support of--and empowering that overseas conservatism (and outright hatred of "The Gay")--I just wanted to express that there are committed and long-at-work forces with the UMC that want to bring about these loooooong-overdue changes.

          I appreciate your analysis of this situation.  Thank you.

          "Why you sockdologizing ol' mantrap, you!"

          by ejoanna on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:46:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone who thinking of going to a Presbyterian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishtroller01

    Church because of this and/or the decision to divest from  Israel Occupation Profiteers needs to read the fine print when they walk in.  The decision to allow gays to become Ministers and the near vote to divest (it lost by 2 votes) in 2012 sent a number of Churches running to a splinter group called ECO which is so anti-gay it is even against providing health care to the partner of a gay employee. Forget about gay marriage, a gay Minister, or even a gay Deacon or Elder.  It is also rabidly anti-Palistinian and part of the pro-Isreal right or wrong contingent.  Many of these Churches, Malibu Presbyterian, is one, still continues to us the name Presbyterian while stating in smaller letters it is part of the "ECO Denomination" - read a born again evangelical church that any tea partier would feel right at home in.  The reason these two actions passed this time is in large part due to the departure of the more right wing congregations that used to be part of the Presbytery.

  •  So the Presbyterians are on a PR roll. (0+ / 0-)

    Between this and the investment announcement, Pope Francis has his work cut out for him.

    Seriously why is a spiritual organization invested in a capitalistic system anyway?  I thought that was a sin! Oh, no, I guess that was the Pope who bashed capitalism and still has investments.  I get these guys all mixed up.

  •  It's about time. How Presbyterians will treat Gays (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott5js

    has been before their General Assembly for at least 6 Quadrennial sessions (24 years).

    in memory of Howard Warren, who created his Rainbow Stoll to wear at the General Assembly decades ago.  Rev. Warren was an early critic of his denomination's treatment re: AIDS victims.  

  •  Hurray for the good ole Presbytery .... (0+ / 0-)

    about bloody time, too!!!!

    Presbyterians (USA- which is the united northern and southern Presbytery sans right wing splinter groups that subsequently split off) may not always lead the pack in liberalism, but eventually tend to do what is fair and just.  And this is probably due to the participatory nature of Presbyterians. (We vote on almost everything, and use elected committees to get the business done. There are a lot of funny jokes floating around poking fun at Presbyterian committee mentality. And hey, I enjoy a good laugh at myself, too!)

    The one thing I have found to be true in most Presbyterian USA churches (both big and small) is the readiness of the membership to reach out to each other, to new members, and to those in need. That's not to say we don't have family quarrels within individual churches (usually started by one or a handful of people that just need to get over themselves). But we do work hard at healing any rifts within our church families, much the same as families of relatives (should)  do.  

    So I'm really glad the Presbytery finally got their ducks in a row on this issue. To continue to treat people with inequality and disrespect is not part of the Presbyterian message. So I was surprised it took us this long.

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