Same-sex marriage equality is finally becoming a reality throughout the United States after countless efforts and legislative initiatives. On Tuesday, the third Christian denomination has also formally recognized gay marriages.
The Presbyterian Church cast a vote in an attempt to redefine the definition of marriage so that it no longer included the phrasing “between a man and a woman”. Instead, its definition now reads: “a commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”
This most recent modification in the church’s constitution is a result of the General Assembly’s recommendations, which were issued last year. As a result of this amendment, the Presbyterian Church is now the largest Protestant Group within the nation to formally accept same-sex marriage in all those congregations where the law allows it.
“Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community,” reverend Brian Ellison, Covenant Network of Presbyterians executive director said.
Among the 171 regional leadership bodies, 86 were in favor of changing the wording in the definition of marriage within the church’s governing document, called “The Book of Order”.
Starting June 21st, the changes will take effect, although debate is still hot where the matter of gay weddings and their possible conflicts with Scripture are concerned.
Apart from the Presbyterian Church, other Christian denominations have also continuously attempted to reassess their views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality in general. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, for instance, has already formally accepted gay marriage. Granted, ministers are given the choice of whether they accept to officiate same-sex weddings or not, however, the official 2009 resolution states that:
“There is nothing that prescribes who a congregation pastor can marry or not marry, so long as it is consistent with state law.”
Another forward-thinking denomination is the Episcopal Church. Back in 2003, it heralded a new age of acceptance when allowing Gene Robinson to be elected as its first openly homosexual bishop. Since then, the church has prepared liturgies to be used by clergymen when performing same-sex unions. The church banned the discrimination against the LGBT community and has been advocating for equal rights since 1976 when it concluded that homosexual people still belonged to God’s children and deserved acceptance, pastoral concern and love.
Marriage equality has also been advocated by the United Church of Christ, which, in 2005, insisted that equality must exist for couples despite their gender. Members of the Church’s congregation were summoned to participate in the development of non-discriminatory policies around same-sex marriage was actually the first major Protestant denomination to recognize same-sex marriage.