Lesbian Presbyterian’s Fight to Become a Priest … Over & Out?


It’s been a 20-year mission for Lisa Larges, who’s been trying to become a Presbyterian priest. The whole process would have been much simpler were it not for Larges being a big gay. But finally her battle against church brass hit cruising altitude. Only to wind up crash landing on the Hudson: Nobody died, but the mission to become a gay priest is all but aborted.

Already shot down twice before, Larges has been shot down what is, by our count, a third time.

In California, a Presbyterian Church commission issued a ruling Wednesday that essentially halted a lesbian deacon’s candidacy for ordination as a priest.

Lisa Larges, 45, has been trying to become a Presbyterian priest for more than 20 years. She heads the group That All May Freely Serve, which advocates for gay equality in the church.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) does not allow gays or lesbians to become priests, but last week’s ruling sidestepped Larges’ sexual orientation. In a highly technical ruling, the commission rejected the process used by the Presbytery of San Francisco to approve Larges’ candidacy for ordination.

Still, Larges said the ruling has “deeply personal and painful repercussions” for her and other gay, bisexual and transgender people who want to serve the church. Larges likened the commission’s action to the ruling of an appellate court. She said it was unclear whether there would be an appeal to a higher church court.

The commission’s ruling came less than a year after leaders of the Presbyterian Church overturned a long-standing ban on the ordination of gays and lesbians. The General Assembly, meeting in San Jose last June, voted in favor of the ordination measure 54% to 46%, but its decision must still be approved by a majority of the nation’s 173 regional presbyteries.

So far, the measure to allow gay and lesbian priests is trailing, according to a tally kept by the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, a national group of clergy and lay church members. The network, which maintains the tally on its website www.covenantnetwork.org “> www.covenantnetwork.org , says that 80 presbyteries have voted against the measure and 56 for it.