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Austin Presbyterian Church Supports Gay Marriage Changes

Updated: Sunday, June 22 2014, 08:13 PM CDT

The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has taken major steps toward recognizing gay marriage. The General Assembly voted Thursday in favor of redefining Christian marriage in the church constitution as the union of "two people," not just "a man and a woman." The redefinition will take effect only if most of the 172 regional Presbyteries approve it in voting over the next year. 

On Sunday, Reverend Joseph Moore told the congregation at Austin's Central Presbyterian that this is a new day in the life of the church. 

"Marriage has always been a culturally fluid construct and the truth is there is no one type of biblical marriage," said Rev. Moore. 

"We don't see this as a redefining of marriage, but rather a clarification of our understanding of marriage," said Layton Williams who was an observer at the General Assembly in Detroit. 

In addition, the Presbyterian Church voted to allow pastors to marry same-sex couples in states where it's legal. 

"Selfishly I'm really excited to get married in my own church. That's kind of a big win," said Louis Taylor, a member of the Central Presbyterian congregation.

The changes were supported by strong majorities, but the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S. has seen several hundred congregations leave the church since 2010.  

"It's a complex issue for many people and we recognize that not everyone is of the same mind," said Rev. Moore. 

National church leaders have given their approval, but the redefinition of marriage will only take effect if regional leadership says "yes" in voting that will take place over the next year.

Austin Presbyterian Church Supports Gay Marriage Changes

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