By Anna Peirano
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church voted 308-338 against a resolution to change the definition of marriage from “a woman and a man” to between “two people.” Reuters reports the decision followed four hours of heated debate.
The amendment to change the Church’s constitution was presented by the Civil Union and Marriage Committee.
“We are disappointed that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted against revising the standard in the Church’s constitution that would change the definition of marriage… which would have allowed same-gender couples to marry within the Church” says Reverend Katharine Henterson, president of Auburn Seminary. “The change would have been a step in the direction of making the Church not only welcoming, but also affirming of the covenant of marriage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who are part of the Church.”
As of now, the Church allows ministers to bless gay unions, but not solemnize homosexual civil marriages.
Reuters reports that opponents of the amendment argued the move would alienate the Church from those in other countries.
Following the decision, Neal Presa, a pastor at Middlesex Presbyterian Church in New Jersey who moderated the debate, brought the congregation together in prayer and said, “Some of us weep while some of us rejoice. We are a divided church.”