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Austin Cline

Presbyterian Panel OKs Gay Clergy

By July 1, 2004

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The Presbyterian panel “Committee on Church Orders and Ministry“ has recommended allowing for the ordination of openly gay clergy. It was a close vote and still needs to be approved by the denomination’s General Assembly before it can become the new standard.

Gay.com reports:

By a 35-30 vote, the Committee on Church Orders and Ministry recommended that churches not be bound by a 1978 constitutional measure that declares "unrepentant homosexual practice" incompatible with the terms for ordination. The recommendation will be put to a vote later this week at the 216th General Assembly, which is in session in Richmond, Va., through Saturday. More than 8,000 delegates are participating in the assembly, the Associated Press reports.

The same panel did not, however, approve reversing the current rule that requires "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness“ for Presbyterian clergy. Thus, even if the above measure is approved, it would mean that clergy can be gay but must be celibate as well (at least until gay marriage is legal).

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