A vote before the Presbyterian Church’s (U.S.A.) General Assembly in Minneapolis this past Thursday allows gays in a committed relationship to serve in the clergy, but limits the definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman.  NPR reports:

Presbyterian leaders split Thursday on two gay-friendly measures, voting to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy but deciding not to redefine marriage in their church constitution to include same-sex couples — at least for now.

The surprise vote to shelve the marriage issue at the church’s general assembly in Minneapolis late Thursday passed by a slim margin of 51 percent. The decision means the church will continue to define marriage as being between “a man and a woman” for at least two more years – unless someone who voted to shelve the measure moves Friday to reconsider it and supporters muster enough votes to approve another debate. […]

Under current church policy, Presbyterians are only eligible to become clergy, deacons or elders if they are married or celibate. The new policy would strike references to sexuality altogether in favor of candidates committed to “joyful submission to worship of Christ.”

“What this is about is making sure we uphold what Christ taught us, to not judge one another,” said Dan Roth, a church elder from Sacramento. “We will no longer have to tell our brothers and sisters in Christ that they lie about who they are.”

But critics said the move toward more liberal policy would simply create disputes and bad feelings in Presbyterian churches nationwide.

“If we are once again conflicted with this question in our presbyteries, all the air will be sucked out of the room,” said the Rev. William Reid Dalton III of Burlington, N.C. “All the other things, the important issues we need to consider will not considered.”

Read the entire article here.