Conflict within the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.), over same-sex
1991 to 2003.
In this web site, the term "LGBT" refers to the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual community.
"GLB" refers to Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals. We reverse
the order of the "L" and "G" to avoid confusion with the
manufacturer of quality model trains.
This menu and its associated essays are currently being edited.
Please excuse the temporary confusion
"...religion is a great source of pain among families dealing with
sexual orientation and gender identity issues." Kirsten Kingdon,
spokesperson for Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) at a
dinner meeting of the PC (U.S.A.) year 2000 General Assembly.
[Webmaster comment: Similar pain is experienced at the congregational, regional, and denominational level.]
Many authors divide the over 1,000 faith groups within Protestantism into three
classifications: conservative, mainline and liberal.
A near consensuses exists among conservative denominations of opposition to abortion access, physician assisted suicide, evolution and origin of the species, equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual community, equality for the transgender and transsexual community, same-sex marriage, pre-marital sex, and a few dozen other hot topics. Their beliefs are largely based on their interpretations of key biblical passages, and respect for Church traditions.
A near consensus exists in favor of the same topics among the liberal denominations. Their beliefs are largely based on biblical themes (rather than specific passages), on personal experience, and on their acceptance of the findings of scientific studies.
- For a mainline denomination like the Presbyterian Church (USA), a near consensus
on any topic is difficult to impossible to attain. The denomination is divided at the family,
congregation, presbytery, and national levels among members with conservative and liberal
ideation. Divisions on matters of human sexuality seem to be particularly
difficult to resolve. It takes decades and is primarily driven by generational changes.
Older teens and young adults form the first generation where most people have a gay, lesbian or bisexual friend or family member. This generation has learned first hand about the nature of minority sexual orientations; many have abandoned the historical Christian teachings.
Gulfs have opened between young and old members, between urban
and rural areas, and between northern, southern/midwestern and western sections of the
country. Presbyterians read the same Bible, agree on what is says, but come to opposite
conclusions about what it means. This is particularly true with passages that deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or transsexual topics (LGBT).
This section deals with the struggle over commitment ceremonies, civil union ceremonies, and lesbian/gay ordination within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from the late 20th century to the year 2010.
This section discusses the following topic:
The Presbyterian Church (USA), same-
couples, civil unions, committment
ceremonies & marriages.
Part 1: 1991 to 2000-MAY: Early controversies.
Part 2: 2000-JUN: The 212th General
Assembly passed Amendment O to prohibit ceremonies.
Part 3: 2001 to 2003: Ratification of Amendment O by the Presbyteries fails.
Further efforts cease for a half-decade. Activity resumed in 2008 with an ambitious attempt to allow clergy to perform committment ceremonies, civil unions and marriages in churches.
Related Presbyterian essays on this web site:
Copyright © 1996 to 2014
by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2014-JUN-27
Author: B.A. Robinson