The Presbyterian Church has formally recognized gay marriage and will allow same-sex weddings.
The Church approved a new definition of marriage in the church, which includes “commitment between two people.” The definition was approved last year by the church General Assembly, but needed approval from a majority of the 171 regional districts. The 86th vote was cast Tuesday night.
The new definition reads: "Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives."
"So many families headed by LGBTQ couples have been waiting for decades to enter this space created for their families within their church communities," said the Rev. Robin White, a leader of More Light Presbyterians, which supports gay acceptance within the church.
Fox News reports the change will officially take effect June 21. Under the new definition, clergy are not required to preside at a gay marriage; they can decide. According to reports, 41 regional districts voted against the redefinition.
"We hope that such 'up/down' voting does not mark the end, but the continuation of our desire to live in community," the two top General Assembly officials said in a statement released this week.
Still, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, is encouraging Presbyterians to stop donating to the national church until the original definition is restored.
Publication date: March 18, 2015