Effective June 21, the Presbyterian Church will embrace a newfound definition of the term marriage, making Presbyterians the largest Protestant congregation to formally include gay marriage as a Christian marriage. Previous language in the constitution defined marriage as “a contract between a woman and a man” and will now be changed to “a contract between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.'”
Though the language still pays homage to the traditional male and female partnership, this is a huge step for spiritual and/or religious members of the LGBTQ community, who have often felt left out of the flock. Over 171 local leadership bodies of the Presbyterian Church of the United States, known as presbyteries, voted on the matter. With 86 presbyteries voting to approve the change, the church reached the majority status necessary to adopt the constitutional revision.
Despite having over 1.8 million members, the Presbyterian church has seen some fluctuation in church membership as a result of its inclusive policies; parishioners have left and churches have completely dissolved into other denominations due to disagreement with the acceptance of LGBTQ members. Perhaps the church could see a resurgence in membership as many LGBTQ persons seek refuge in the solace of inclusive language and understanding of love.