(WHAM 13) Rochester, N.Y. – After three decades of debate, members of the Presbyterian Church voted last week to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution. That’s from a definition of a man and woman to between “two persons.” A majority of the denomination’s presbyteries would need to approve it.
The Presbytery of the Genesee Valley is the 89th church out of 94 churches statewide to say “yes” to the change. The Presbyterian Church needed the backing of 86 presbyteries. “The vote yesterday changes our constitution,” said Rev.
Amy Williams Fowler, the leader of the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley. “What doesn’t change is that each and every marriage must be agreed to by the pastor who is preforming that marriage and if that marriage is in the church must be approved by the council or session of that local church.” Members of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley voted 83 to 13 in favor on Saturday to allow pastors to tie the knot for same-sex couples.
Even though gay marriage has been legal in New York since 2011, pastors in the denomination were unable to marry same-sex couples because of its constitution. That’s no longer the case. “I think it is significant among protestant denominations,” said Fowler. “We are certainly not the first to do this. It’s been for us.
Conversations about sexuality have been going on for us since the late 70s. It’s been a long conversation. In our churches of course the conversation continues.” Not everyone is happy with the change, such as the Brighton Presbyterian Church.
13WHAM ABC reached out to them for commit. That call was not immediately returned. The change in the definition of marriage takes effect June 21.