Lutheran panel proposes road map to permit partnered gay clergy

A four-step process
A blue-ribbon panel has recommended that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lift its ban on partnered gay and lesbian clergy, but only after the church agrees in principle on gay relationships and agrees to respect the consciences of those who dissent.

A majority of the 15-member Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality believes that “it is possible to devise guidelines and policies that would allow . . . some flexibility” in its ordination standards.

The 4.7-million-member ELCA currently allows gay or lesbian clergy who pledge to be celibate; partnered or sexually active homosexual clergy are technically not allowed in ELCA pulpits, though some buck the rules without punishment.

At the ELCA convention two years ago, delegates—in a surprising interim action—voted 538 to 431 to call upon bishops and synods to refrain from taking punitive action against clergy in committed same-sex relationships.


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