WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- Two Protestant groups are moving towards allowing the ordination of homosexuals in long-term monogamous relationships as ministers.
The governing council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran organization, voted this week to have a vote in the national assembly on the issue, The Christian Science Monitor reported. The Presbyterian Church (USA) approved homosexual ordination last year, but it will not take effect unless two-thirds of the presbyteries, the 173 district councils, vote in favor by June.
Both groups already allow homosexuals to be ordained if they are celibate.
The issue has become a divisive one for main-line protestant churches in the United States. The Episcopal Church's consecration of a gay bishop in 2003 still threatens to split both the church and the worldwide Anglican communion.
The Presbyterian group appears likely to maintain the status quo. So far, 73 presbyteries have voted against change.