The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted today to remove all barriers to the ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as ministers and lay leaders. Today, the Twin Cities Presbytery in Minneapolis, Minn. became the 87th presbytery (regional governing bodies) in the 2.4 million member denomination to vote to allow LGBT clergy and lay people the right to serve openly as ministers.
“History was made today,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program. “Presbyteries all around the country – from Alabama to Utah – voted to say no to prejudice and yes to those who are called to serve the church. Through this action, the Presbyterian Church (USA) removes one more road block in the way of justice. Because of today’s decision, a young person is freer to claim his or her sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. This decision will have profound ramifications for people of all faiths everywhere.
Today’s decision is the result of a long process. Three other times, a vote was taken in the Presbyterian General Assembly to open the doors to LGBT clergy, but did not reach the 51% ratification by regional presbyteries. Because of the hard and faithful work by organizations such as More Light Presbyterians, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, That All May Freely Serve, Presbyterian Welcome, and Presbyterian Voices for Justice, the Presbyterian Church (USA) can hold its head high today. The Human Rights Campaign is deeply grateful to the decades of tremendous dedication these faithful organizations have devoted to making our religious traditions more loving places for all of us. We are all the beneficiaries of their labor and we at HRC are deeply grateful.
“This is not only good for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people but it is good for the soul of the church,” added Groves. “LGBT Presbyterians have been some of the most prophetic and faithful leaders within the Presbyterian church and now they can bring their faith and their humanity fully into the work of building loving, God-affirming communities.”