Media Release: Presbyterian Church (USA) Discusses Marriage; Misses Historic Opportunity

July 6, 2012
More Light Presbyterians
Media Release

Media contacts:
Antony Hebblethwaite, antony@mlp.org
           
Presbyterian Church (USA) Discusses Marriage; Misses Historic Opportunity

Pittsburgh, PA – Today, the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) discussed two different ways to expand the 2 million member denomination’s understanding of marriage to include committed same-sex couples. While neither option ultimately collected the majority of votes needed to begin the ratification process, this discussion marked another step towards making the Presbyterian Church (USA) a truly inclusive church.

“While it is disappointing that the Church missed this historic opportunity to move toward full inclusion, the fact that so many Presbyterians from around the country called for the Church to recognize love between committed same-gender couples was awe-inspiring to see.” said Michael J. Adee, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians. “We have more work to do to show those who oppose full inclusion how truly wonderful the gifts that committed, married same-sex couples bring to our church. We’re inspired by the progress we’ve made together and are just as committed to continuing this work, together.”

The Civil Union and Marriage Committee recommended overture 13-04 to amend W-4.9001, the Directory of Worship to change the characterization of marriage from a "man and a woman" to “two persons.” The Directory of Worship is part of the Book of Order, the PCUSA's Constitution. This is the first time an overture like this has been debated by a Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly.

The second overture would have issued an authoritative interpretation that would permit ministers residing in states where marriage between same-sex couples is already legal to preside at same-sex wedding ceremonies. This overture would have clarified a confusing limbo that many Presbyterian ministers find themselves in as more and more states recognize same-sex marriage.

Rev. Heidi Peterson, pastor, Central Presbyterian Church, Kansas City, Missouri and Co-Moderator, More Light Presbyterians said: “As a Presbyterian minister, my job is to provide pastoral care to the real people I serve in my congregation and in my community. Today, our church missed an opportunity to not only take a bold step towards love, but to also clarify confusion that ministers across the country are facing as more and more states expand their recognition of marriage to include same-sex couples. While we didn’t take this step forward today, I have faith that the Presbyterian Church (USA) will one day soon stand on the side of love.”

This progress on marriage equality follows on the heels of a 2011 amendment to open ordination in the church to include gay and lesbian candidates.

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 More Light Presbyterians is a national network of Presbyterians working for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Plenary of the 220th General Assembly

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