Presbyterians Just Say No (To Gay Pastors)


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.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #evangelicallutheranchurchinamerica #presbyterianchurch #religion stories and more


  • Mike

    The Episcopal Church Welcomes You

  • Jonathan

    Don’t forget that there are plenty of individual reconciling churches out there which reject the larger church organizations’ bigotry. My family’s church, a United Methodist Church, simply LOVES the gays!

  • rsquared

    And the Catholic church would implode without all of the gay priests and other higher ups. Probably the same for the Presbyterians who will figure this out eventually.

  • Alec

    @Jonathan: I was raised UMC. They’re not very gay friendly. No ordination, no same-sex ceremonies, “homosexuality is incompatible with Scripture,” etc. Pastors can refuse church membership on the basis of sexual orientation.

  • kevin (not that one)

    There are 27,000 denominations of the Protestant religion in the US. And accordingly, ALL of them believe they and they alone hold the Truth.

    This makes the argument of who is an “authentic” Christian a rather ridiculous exercise…with one exception.

    Because the Christian faith is based on the written word, we can go back to it and see what it says. We can examine it, learn about who wrote it, and interpret it using all that we have learned throughout the centuries of critical study.

    While it is impossible to say who is the most Christian, it is possible to say who isn’t following the religion of Jesus. And who isn’t following the religion of Jesus is every single Christian sect who excludes LGBTs, accepts us as natural and created by God, and who invests a great deal of time spreading lies, fear, and hate against us.

    That is not what a Christian does.

    “You shall know them by their fruits”. You know?

  • kevin (not that one)

    CORRECTION: “doesn’t accept us as natural and created by God”

  • Jonathan

    @Alec: Right, the larger organization ceratainly preaches this. What I meant was that my individual church, and various other UMC and other Protestant churches are part of the reconciling churches movement. As a reconciling church, mine has made it a part of the mission statement that it rejects the Church’s official position on homosexuality and welcome everybody.

  • JBaritone

    The Episcopal Church may welcome us, but it won’t marry us, and the majority of its bishops still refuse to ordain us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an Episcopalian, and I love my church, but we’ve still got a long way to come before it’s fair to call us a LGBT-friendly church. Especially for those of us who aren’t living in a diocese on either coast, TEC tends to be LGBT-tolerant at best.

  • Mike

    @JBaritone: I’m lucky enough to belong to a parish that encourages diversity within the congregation, as well as with the clergy. We also celebrate marriage equally within our church.

Comments are closed.