Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US Presbyterian Church allows gay weddings

20 June 2014, 12:10

June 19 - A gathering of US Presbyterian Church elders and ministers voted on Thursday to allow their clergy to perform same-sex weddings, in a major reversal for one of the largest mainline Protestant denominations, a church official said.

The move came during a meeting in Detroit, two years after the Church's highest judicial body upheld an ecclesiastical rebuke against a lesbian Presbyterian minister for officiating at same-sex weddings in California.

A number of Christian denominations have grappled in recent years with how to address the wishes of gay and lesbian couples to marry, which is now legal in 19 US states and the District of Columbia.

The Presbyterian Church in 2011 removed its prohibitions on openly gay clergy and has a long tradition of baptising children of same-sex couples.

The vote by a group of Church elders and ministers to allow clergy to solemnize gay weddings was 371 in favor and 238 opposed, said Gradye Parsons, clerk of the Church's General Assembly.

New rules

The new rules, which take effect on Saturday, give clergy the choice of whether to preside over same-sex marriages in states where gay nuptials are legally recognised, while providing local church councils discretion over whether to host such ceremonies, Parsons said.

The Church previously only permitted its ministers to bless unions between two men or two women, so long as pastors did not state or imply the couple were actually being married.

The same body in Detroit also voted to change the language of the Church's Book of Order to state: "Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally between a man and a woman." The original passage says: "Marriage is a civil contract between a man and a woman."

That change will require the approval of local church leaders and will take at least a year to come into force, Parsons said.

The Presbyterian denomination had more than 1.7 million active members as of last year.

The Church has lost more than 500 000 members over the past decade, and Church leaders have expressed concern that an endorsement of same-sex marriage could spur an exodus of parishioners who view it as incompatible with biblical teachings.

The Church's General Assembly in July 2012 narrowly voted to reject a proposal to redefine marriage as a union between "two people" rather than as between a man and a woman.

The Presbyterian Church is not the first religious faith to allow its clergy to perform same-sex weddings. Reform and Conservative Jews, Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ allow their clergy to do so, but the United Methodist Church, the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination, forbids it, according to the Pew Research Center.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...