Sorry, gays, but the Presbyterian Church (USA) still doesn’t want you. After a months-long vote among regional presbyteries to decide whether to alter the church’s constitution to replace “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and woman or chastity in singleness” with an inclusive, gay-tolerant policy, enough clergy voted not to make any changes, leaving the “gay pastors or church offices” rulebook in place. (You’ll remember the story of lesbian minister Lisa Larges.)
But is it all bad news?
Not necessarily. In 2001, the Presbyterian Church voted to change this fidelity and chastity doctrine. The measure also failed, but by a vote of 3-to-1. The most recent count shows opposition to the gay-friendly change coming in at 88-69, a much smaller margin, which indicates the appetite for updating the church constitution is growing stronger, but it hasn’t yet reached a tipping point.
This type of news, meanwhile, isn’t over. In August, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will vote whether to let openly gay pastors serve, and whether gay couples can marry in their churches.