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Presbyterians allow gay clergy.

LOUISVILLE, KY - Presbyterians who support gay rights celebrated July 10 the passage of a new church policy that allows gay pastors to serve openly for the first time in the denomination's history.

The new policy removes language from the denomination's constitution that had barred homosexuals from serving as church ministers, elders and deacons. It allows each presbytery - or regional governing body - to decide what sexual standards to place on ordination.

The resolution, which had failed in different forms in recent years, needed approval from both the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly as well as from presbyteries; 97 of the denomination's 173 presbyteries voted to approve the new policy.

Despite the July 10 celebrations, gay ordination remains a contentious issue for many within the church.

"In passing [the policy], the denomination removed all sexual behavior standards from its constitution," said the Rev. Parker T. Williamson, editor emeritus of the conservative publication The Layman, which actively opposed the change. "Scripture is very clear that there are standards relating to our sexual behavior ... but this denomination has decided it doesn't have any standards."

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Title Annotation:US BRIEFS
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U6KY
Date:Jul 22, 2011
Words:180
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