LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – Members of the nation’s largest Presbyterian sect are expected to debate the merits of same sex marriage this week, during the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The Louisville, Kentucky-based Protestant denomination, which has 1.95 million members, is anticipated to take up various proposals concerning marriage equality during its annual meeting, being held through Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Among the measures under consideration are demands to confirm the religion’s traditional definition of marriage, as between a man and a woman, along with calls to change that definition to reflect a relationship between “two people,” as well as a proposal to allow Presbyterian ministers to perform same sex marriage rites in states where marriage equality is legal.
In recent years, approximately 200 Presbyterian congregations have left the denomination, in large part because of the contentious debate concerning gay marriage. Last year, the denomination voted to permit the ordination of persons who are in openly gay relationships as ministers and lay clergy.