StarTribune: Presbyterians to allow gay ministers
...Twin Cities Presbyterians cast a historic vote on Tuesday to allow openly gay and lesbian members to be ordained ministers.
Presbyterian leaders say the Twin Cities vote of 205 to 56 was the final action needed to end the 2.1 million-member denomination's national ban on gay clergy. A majority of the 173 U.S. presbyteries had to vote in favor of the new policy adopted last summer at the group's national assembly. The Twin Cities Presbytery happened to cast the 87th, and deciding, vote.
"It's very exciting," said the Rev. Timothy Hart-Andersen, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian in downtown Minneapolis and founder of advocacy group Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which supports the ordination of openly gay clergy. "I found myself welling up with tears. Up until now they've had to be closeted. Now they'll be able to come out. It will honor them as individuals and as full human beings like anyone else serving the church."
Hart-Anderson spoke in favor of the change was among the 264 elders and ministers within the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, who cast votes at Peace Presbyterian Church Tuesday afternoon. Three voters abstained.
During the meeting, supporters and opponents of the change spoke to the assembled voters.
"It's very unfortunate we have to have this discussion today," said Peter Hwang, a member of the Korean Presbyterian Church. "I think we should be ashamed of ourselves. This homosexual issue is breaking our church. We need to abide by Scripture."
The denomination, based in Louisville, Ky., is the latest mainline Protestant group to move toward accepting same-gender relationships. ...
Technically, the change does not take affect until July on the one year anniversary for the end of the 2010 Assembly. Theoretically, presbyteries could reconsider and change their votes between now and then. But for practical puproses, the change has occurred.
What this means at this point is that the denomination takes no position on the issue. It is up to presbyteries to decide about ordination of pastors, and sessions about ordination of elders and deacons, on a case-by-case basis.