A demonstration and press conference by leaders from Soulforce, More Light Presbyterians and That All May Freely Serve celebrated the progress made at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and urged commissioners to vote for full equality on Thursday. GLAAD provided spokesperson training, coordinated the press conference and alerted local media which turned out in force for the noon event on July 8th during the July 3-10 meeting. After the press conference, the national body voted to remove all barriers to ordination for LGBT people. This action now goes to the 173 presbyteries for a vote. Half of the presbyteries must approve it before it becomes policy. Two years ago, the presbyteries came closer than ever to passing ordination equality. This vote will occur in the next nine months. In another important action, Presbyterians voted to spend the next two years studying the proposed expansion of marriage, rather than giving clergy the discretion to perform legal civil unions and marriages. Soulforce urged commissioners to reconsider their vote but the General Assembly voted down a motion to reconsider. A final action related to allowing pension benefits for same-sex partners is still pending. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has more than two-million members and is making progress toward equality at each of their General Assemblies. They are meeting in the same Minneapolis, Minn., convention hall where The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church made dramatic decisions in favor of equality for LGBT people. Minnesota State Legislature will be voting on same-sex marriage equality in the next year so it was particularly important that GLAAD assist in amplifying positive faith voices and images through the media. 4AU1UsltArI
Patrick Evans, Yale Associate professor in sacred music, leads Soulforce and Presbyterians in singing while local TV camera person looks on.