Friday, August 21, 2009

Did the Lutherans approve gay marriage & gay clergy? It sure looks that way!

From here, via Jake:
Recommendation two (of four) has just passed on the floor of the ELCA 2009 General Assembly. The vote was 61% for and 39% against, and it reads as follows:

Resolved that the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable, life-long, monogamous same gender relationships.

During debate, both opponents and proponents of the recommendation suggested that this open ended recommendation will allow local congregations to conduct gay marriage ceremonies (if allowed in that state). They are probably right. I think the ELCA has just approved rites for gay marriage, in principal.
From the Lead, they are voting in order on the following resolutions,each requiring only a simple majority.

1 (originally 3) asks this church whether, in the future implementation of these commitments, it will make decisions so that all in this church bear the burdens of the other, and respect the bound consciences of all.

passed 771 to 230.

2 (originally 1) asks the assembly whether, in principle, this church is committed to finding ways to allow congregations and synods that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.
passed 619 yes to 402 no.

3 (originally 2) asks the assembly whether, in principle, this church is committed to finding a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as professional leaders of this church.
Passed 559-451

4. Step four proposes the specifics of how this church can move toward change in a way that respects the bound consciences of all.
Passed 667 to 307

UpdateHere's a new acronym for you: PALMSGR. It means "publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships". that's the new standard for partnered gay clergy in the ELCA. But the question is, what does "publicly accountable" really MEAN? I suppose it means that if you can get married in your state, you should be; ditto for DP or CU. But what if you were married in another state but your current state doesn't recognize it? Or if your current state has a hate amendment against any gay unions? What does "publicly accountable" mean then?

Update 2 The LEad reports on the last resolution THere's a boatload of resolutions calling for study of the issue, policy development, and provisions for those who disagree.

20 comments:

klady said...

Is it too soon to applaud? I realize they're tardy in getting to wherever it is they've gotten to this week, but I sure miss hanging out with them (just not their music). I strongly suspect that these actions reflect far deeper change than just the clergy. I participated in clergy-led congregational workshops that were mandated by our local bishop back in the early to mid 1990's. They've been pushing hard for this for a long time, and thankfully for them, most of the real crazies left long ago for the Missouri and Wisconsin Synods.

Go you Lutherans!

(Even Brett Favre will be forgiven)

[word verification kerrembi - it sounds lovely]

IT said...

I think applause is in order regardless. As Jake says, Methodists next?

Really: this is so important as a symbol beyond any individual church. If significant mainline denominations are coming to these conclusions, it takes away that "Christian" card from the haters. It brings a powerful voice of faith to the side of justice for all. I hope that TEC and ELCA folks join their UCC and other colleagues in Maine and Washington to defend PALMSGR!!!!

Erp said...

My guess is that publicly accountable is one of the items to be figured out in 4.

Married in a state that recognizes your marriage is almost a given (Lutherans don't consider marriage a sacrament do they?)

DPs and CUs in states that recognize them, probably. This might depend on how easy it is to get out of a CU or DP in those states.

Most generous, in states that don't recognize marriage, DPs or CUs, would be standing in front of the congregation and exchanging vows.

I suspect it does mean that those who are in such relationships will have to be upfront about them to their congregations or prospective congregation.

United Methodists do seem to be next since it will be a bit of time before PCUSA can vote again.

seithman said...

I'm actually asking my friend Michele (an ELCA pastor) about the "publicly accountable" part. Based on what I'm getting so far, it's just a fancy way of saying that partnered ministers that are unfaithful to their partners will be disciplined. I get the impression that those who live in states that don't offer civil recognition will still be eligible for pastorship providing they meet the requirements for lifelong commitment and monogamy.

-- Jarred.

Grandmère Mimi said...

In states in which no legal entity exists for partnerships, perhaps a simple declaration of intention to have a lifelong monogamous relationship will be sufficient.

James said...

The "Luthruns" do consider marriage a minor sacrament but it does not have the "weight" that TEC, Orthodox, or RC consider it a sacrament.

Ann said...

here is what ELCA says.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

To us marriage is a given in Creation. Which means that it is Civil law.

Furthermore, there is only one Marriage, not a separate one for the Turk, as Dr Martin said in his colourful way ;=)

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Not even Rome considers Marriage to be a Sacrament, theseday - it's only sacrament-al...

Revd Ivan Ackeroff said...

It won't be long now for a gay woman to be Pope. God is moving us on quickly.

David said...

IT wrote, "... it takes away that "Christian" card from the haters."

Well, yes and no. I fear it'll simply devolve into the same debate we have over who's really "patriotic" - with the far-right claiming it as their own.

And y'all don't hold your breath for the Methodists. There is a large contingent of conservative Methodists, esp. in the South and in rural areas in general. These folks have much more in common with Southern Baptists than any gentle, tolerant Methodists you may be thinking of...

Grandmère Mimi said...

And y'all don't hold your breath for the Methodists.

David is correct. I don't believe the Methodists will follow soon.

Erp said...

Though individual Methodist congregations may be welcoming. My local Methodist church has rainbow banners outside (and what is probably more accepting shares the building with a Tongan Methodist church and has services in Fijian for local Fijians [the local community tends to be well-to-do so people from poorer immigrant groups tend to be ignored]).

Not sure how they all get along.

jasonbradyut said...

This is just appalling. If Luther, the late German Christian protester, would still be here…where the denomination “Lutherans” derived from, he would be stunned and completely disappointed in this horrible abomination to the Word of God and the Gospel. I totally am against this election. When God created “man” he created Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and STEVE!!! Hello people. This is a direct form of disobedience to God. And this is happening in a Church, a denomination that professes to know the Word of God???? Please, God will have to deal with you guys…and it won’t be pretty.

IT said...

Sigh.

I continue to find it amazing that people who justify divorce, and almost certainly participate in usury, and ignoring the poor and uninsured point fingers at faithful gay folks.

As we discussed here.

In any case, you have made your point for us, jason. We don't need to hear from you again.

The Werewolf Prophet said...

jasonbradyut said...

"This is just appalling...horrible abomination...direct form of disobedience to God...God will have to deal with you guys…and it won’t be pretty."

Smug, self-righteous, judgmental. Jason, perhaps it's YOU that needs to beg God's forgiveness.

As far as I'm personally concerned, rigid, fear-filled ranters like you are a dime a dozen; DIS-missed.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Please, God will have to deal with you guys…and it won’t be pretty.

That would be the smiting god, then.

IT said...

Mimi, these people have a need to see someone smitten. Won't they be surprised if the Big Guy turns around and smites them, saying "I TOLD you about loving people, and leave the judging to ME!"

Why am I seeing God as Bus Driver....

seithman said...

They sure don't seem to be fans of John 3:17, do they?

David said...

seithman,

It isn't just John. They often ignore large swaths of the Gospels. Either that, or they've learned to ignore the pain of the cognitive/spiritual dissonance they regularly engage in...