Lutheran Equality—It’s Complicated

April 8, 2009
Lutherans Concerned North America, the Lutheran LGBT advocacy group were "pleased but cautious" this week as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released the final version of its social statement with implementing recommendations.  The documents 
  1. recommend acceptance of partnered gay clergy as church policy,
  2. leave blessings or marriage rites for same-gender couples to congregations, and
  3. allow individual congregations to have a pastor in a committed same-gender relationship, but none could be forced to do so.  
It's complicated, but opponents tried to complicate things more by proposing an increase in the requirement for approval of the recommendations to equal that of the social statement-two-thirds-but it was defeated and remains a majority vote.  Christian Science Monitor, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune, and the Associated Press focused on the recommendations that must pass by majority vote-and some reports made it sound like they lowered the voting bar.  In fact, it remains the same.  Lutherans Concerned leaders noted that if the social statement does not garner 2/3 of the vote, the rest of the recommendations in the report are off the table.    Opponents are expected to try again to up the voting requirements for the recommendations at the Churchwide Assembly, August 17-23, in Minneapolis, Minn. Like I said, it's complicated.