Rule Change Allowing Gay Clergy in Presbyterian Church Takes Effect

by Gabe Bullard on July 10, 2011

Gay and lesbian members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) may now apply to be ordained in the church.

For LGBT Presbyterians, the path to being eligible for ordination has been long and uncertain. Last year, the church’s general assembly lifted a restriction that clergy be either married or celibate. The new rule requires non-celibate clergy to be in “committed relationships.” After debate, the change was ratified by a majority of PCUSA’s regional governing bodies—called presbyteries—in May. It became official today. But not all presbyteries approved of the change. Several dozen actively opposed it and none are required to accept requests for ordination from LGBT members.

But many of those members will apply for ordination in the accepting regions. The group More Light Presbyterians held celebrations and prayers for those members today.

The PCUSA does not currently allow same-sex marriage. A church official previously told WFPL that while many see a change in that rule as inevitable, the general assembly isn’t likely to consider it for some time.

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