MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Presbyterian leaders voted Thursday to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy, approving the first of two policy changes that could make their church one of the most gay-friendly major Christian denominations in the U.S.
But the vote isn't a final stamp of approval for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or its more than 2 million members.
Delegates voted during the church's general assembly in Minneapolis, with 53 percent approving the more liberal policy on gay clergy. A separate vote is expected later Thursday on whether to change the church's definition of marriage from between "a man and a woman" to between "two people."
Such changes must be approved by a majority of the church's 173 U.S. presbyteries before they can take effect. Two years ago, the assembly voted to liberalize the gay clergy policy - but it died last year when 94 of the presbyteries voted against it.
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