MINNEAPOLIS — Presbyterian leaders will not redefine marriage in their church constitution to include same-sex couples.
The surprise vote to shelve the marriage issue at the Presbyterian general assembly late Thursday passed by a slim margin of 51 percent.
The vote means that the definition of marriage will remain as between a man and a woman for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) while the denomination continues to study the issue for at least the next two years.
Earlier in the day, Presbyterian delegates had voted to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy. But that vote won't become the law of the church unless it's approved by ratification votes of a majority of the 173 U.S. presbyteries.