Presbyterian Church USA committees: Allow same-sex marriages

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Committees within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have recommended the denomination allow same-sex marriages and pull investments in businesses supplying Israel’s occupying forces in the West Bank.

The votes — along with minority reports recommending opposite actions — came earlier this week at the legislative General Assembly of the denomination, meeting in Detroit. Final deliberations by the full assembly are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

One committee voted 51-18 to allow pastors the discretion of performing same-sex marriages in states such as Pennsylvania where they are legal. It also voted 49-18 to recommend changing the church constitution — pending regional approval — to define marriage as a covenant between two people regardless of gender.

A separate committee voted 45-20 to recommend divesting from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard for selling products aiding Israel’s occupation. That measure has drawn fierce criticism from advocates for Israel who say it unfairly targets one side of the conflict.

The recommendation also affirmed Israel’s right to exist within secure, internationally recognized borders and explicitly distanced the action from a broader campaign to target Israel with boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

First Published June 18, 2014 12:00 AM

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