MINNEAPOLIS, July 7 (UPI) -- Committees of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have recommended the church allow same-sex marriages and non-celibate gay clergy.
If the first proposal is approved by the General Assembly, the church would be the largest denomination in the United States to marry gay and lesbian couples, the (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported. The Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues approved changing language on marriage to define it as between "two people" Tuesday by a vote of 34-18.
The Committee on Clergy approved the ordination of gays and lesbians 36-16.
Both resolutions must pass the General Assembly, meeting in Minneapolis this week. They would then face a tough ratification process by regional synods.
The church is the largest Presbyterian group in the United States. If the resolutions are adopted, observers say some entire congregations might affiliate with smaller and more conservative Presbyterian churches.
The Episcopal Church ordains gay clergy and allows the blessing of same-sex unions in dioceses that decide to do so. The issue threatens to split both the U.S. church and the world-wide Anglican Communion.