By Rick Howlett
The legislative body of the Lousiville-based Presbyterian Church USA has approved new ordination standards for gay clergy.
Church rules currently require Presbyterians to be in a heterosexual marriage or single and celibate in order to become clergy, deacons or elders.
The change would allow the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians who are in a “committed relationship.”
The measure, approved Thursday, must be ratified by the church’s 173 Presbyteries.
“For someone like me….you can’t be really who you are, you have to pretend be heterosexual and get married, or have a life without love and intimacy. A growing number of Presbyterians don’t believe that anymore. They recognize that God has created people just as people are,” said Michael Adee of the group More Light Presbyterians, which has been pushing for the change.
The General Assembly, meeting in Minneapolis, did not approve a proposed change in the church constitution that would define marriage as a covenant between two people, rather than a man and a woman.
Instead, by a narrow margin, the body voted to approve a report addressing how the church ministers to same-sex couples, and related issues.