(AP) Presbyterians give approval to same-sex marriage in church constitution

The Presbyterian Church approved redefining marriage in the church constitution Tuesday to include a “commitment between two people,” becoming the largest US Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.

The new definition was endorsed last year by the church General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the denomination’s 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th “yes” vote came Tuesday night from the Palisades Presbytery in New Jersey.

After all regional bodies vote and top Presbyterian leaders officially accept the results, the change will take effect on June 21. The denomination has nearly 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations.

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7 comments on “(AP) Presbyterians give approval to same-sex marriage in church constitution

  1. Undergroundpewster says:

    Someone once asked me, or should I say told me, to leave the Episcopal church. One of my responses was that the same issues would come to every other denomination as society continues its steady slouch to Gomorrah. PCUSA appears to be competing with TEc to see which train gets to the station first. They just can’t seem to see that the station to which they are headed is the end of the line.
    [blockquote] “Between 2011, when the Presbyterian church authorized gay ordination, and 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, 428 of the denomination’s churches left for other more conservative denominations or dissolved.”[/blockquote]

  2. Sarah1 says:

    Wow — only 1.8 million members? I remember when it was closer to 4 million. What a stunning decline — perhaps even worse than TECs.

    Now it is closer to the TEC size of 12 years ago. Ah . . . those were the days. ; > )

    So my big question is — how many liberals who consider themselves to be somewhat vaguely “spiritual” but who wish to be a part of something churchy and Not-Quite-Unitarian are in the US? What’s the market for that kind of church?

    I think we’re all going to see in the coming decade just how teensy a market that is — 1) liberal, 2) somewhat spiritual, 3) not wishing to be Unitarian, 4) but wishing to be a part of a churchy type entity.

    My guess for TEC is that it will level out at about 350-400K members — accomplished in a decade.

    PCUSA I’d guess will level out at perhaps 600-650K.

    Good times.

  3. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel says:

    #2 You may be right about your projection of the numbers. But don’t forget to factor in median age. (What is it in TEC today? 58?, perhaps in 15 years it will be 68.) Median age simply cannot go up indefinitely; I don’t seeing plateauing at 105, for example.

    That’s what #1 seems to be alluding to as well: PECUSA is on the train to oblivion. Not only does such a decision place it under God’s judgment (not a good place to be biblically, speaking), not only do they contribute to the overall decline by “blessing” what is by definition a sterile relationship (SS “marriage”) but they also have done so to make the old liberals happy, who will die soon, and whose own children, really don’t seem to be in church any more either. Is anyone paying attention?

  4. Sarah1 says:

    I agree, Brian, that there will be lots of dying [not to mention more people departing] from TEC and the PCUSA. I *think* though that there are probably 350K liberals out there in the US market who fancy themselves “spiritual,” want to be in something churchly, and yet don’t want to be in the Unitarian entity. It’s a teensy teensy teensy sliver, granted, but I do think that 350K sounds right. I’m giving it ten years for 1) yet more people to die and 2) yet more people to leave. At this point TEC is at under 800K and sinking fast.

  5. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel says:

    I do think you’re right about labeling the number of spiritual, non-Unitarians. Thanks for your observations.

  6. Jim the Puritan says:

    #3–I believe the median age in PCUSA is now in the late sixties. I know it has been going up rapidly in the past several years, partly because it is disproportionately the younger people (who are actually more conservative theologically) who are leaving the most.

    I am pretty sure there is a game plan, although not discussed openly, that at some point PCUSA and the UCC are going to merge. So the liberals who control both denominations (and are largely from the same group of folks) are not too concerned about keeping on going this way, it’s all about “inclusion.”

  7. Adam 12 says:

    I believe PC(USA) was a consolidation over a previous break over women clergy,