Churches' response to homosexuality
The Presbyterian Church (USA):
decades (so far) of painful
conflict & evolution
on gay ordination,
On this web site the term "LGBT" refers to the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual community.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [a.k.a. PCUSA] is a mainline Christian denomination
in the U.S.
Its name is often confused with the Presbyterian Church in America [a.k.a. PCA]. The PCA is a smaller
and much more conservative denomination. It split from the PCUSA decades ago because it could not accept the concept of female clergy. The PCA's beliefs and practices concerning lesbian, gay and bisexual ordination
are discussed in a separate essay.
At the PCUSA's General Assembly in mid-2014, delegates voted to give the minister and session of each congregation the responsibility to decide whether or not to marry same-sex couples. At the time, such marriages could only happen in states that have attained marriage equality by legalizing same-sex marriage. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage everywhere in the U.S. except for American Samoa.
The delegates also approved an amendment to the denomination's definition of marriage in their Book of Order. It recognized marriage by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. The change was sent to the individual presbyteries for ratification. By 2015-MAR, the majority of presbyteries had approved of the amendment.
Within U.S. Presbyterian denominations:
- A session is sometimes called a consistory or church board. It is a body of elected elders governing a local congregation.
- A presbytery is an administrative body within the denomination including all the local congregations within a defined geographical area. There are often more than one presbytery in a state.
Sources of information:
- "Presbyterians May Debate Gay Clergy Ban," The Associated Press,
2003-MAY-23. Online at: Beliefnet.com at:
- Rose French, "Presbyterians to allow gays to be ordained ministers," Associated Press, 2011-MAY-11, at: http://www.startribune.com/
Copyright © 1996 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update 2015-JUN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson