07/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Presbyterian Church's Gay Clergy Ban Overturned

On the heels of a landmark California Supreme Court ruling that overturned a ban on gay marriage, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has done the same thing regarding the ordination of gays and lesbians as ministers:

Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) overturned a long-standing ban on the ordination of gays and lesbians Friday, providing yet the latest example of a religious denomination struggling with how, and whether, to incorporate homosexuality into church life.

At the same time, the church's national governing body, meeting in San Jose, refused to alter its definition of marriage, calling it a "covenant between a woman and a man." The actions by the General Assembly came the week after same-sex marriage became legal in California. They also follow the decision of a gathering of Methodists from Southern California and Hawaii, who went against their national church by voting to support same-sex couples who marry and the pastors who welcome them.

The Presbyterian Church is among many mainline Protestant denominations struggling to reconcile conflicting beliefs about biblical authority and the role of gays.

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