WICHITA Kansas – Gay couples are one step closer to getting married in a Presbyterian Church. The general assembly for Presbyterian Church’s across the country passed a vote to formally recognize same-sex marriages Tuesday.
The change won’t be final until late June, but, clergy won’t be compelled to perform same-sex ceremonies.
KSN received reaction from local Wichita Presbyterian churches on how they’re moving forward.
Many churches in Kansas haven’t yet voted on this wording change in the group’s constitution, but enough churches across the country that have approved it, the majority has already been reached.
After talking to several area pastors, they say there’s no quick and easy answers.
“Like most of the churches in this particular area, they would not be in favor. They would have not wanted to vote in favor of that,” said Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church Reverend Dr. Donald Owens.
Gay marriage can be a touchy topic in the Presbyterian Church.
“But like every congregation, there are people within our congregation who have different views about that,” Owens said. “Sometimes it’s difficult for us to talk about hard issues because some people are really more emotionally involved in the issue than others.”
Last year, representatives from every congregation in the U.S. met at the denomination’s general assembly to discuss issues facing the church, like same sex marriage.
Then just Tuesday, a majority of the denomination’s 171 regional presbyteries voted to allow same-sex marriage within in the church.
“At that level when there is a vote on something, all of the presbyteries continue to vote and wrestle with it,” said Covenant Presbyterian Church Pastor and Presbytery of Southern Kansas Moderator, Laura Frazey. “That’s something very important to our denomination that we have the conversation and that whatever the discussion is, the minority of that discussion is protected.”
The new wording would say “Marriage is a gift god has given to all humankind for the well being of the entire human family. Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.”
“It allows churches and presbyteries to really wrestle with that on a personal level,” Frazey said. “It doesn’t compel either way. So it allows the churches to be who they really are.”
To be clear this applies to states and counties where gay and lesbian couples can get married and no church or pastor will be required to perform same-sex marriages.