In a familiar routine, mainline Presbyterians at their biennial General Assembly voted 373-323 to lift a ban on partnered gay clergy, sending the proposed change for the fourth time in nearly a dozen years to the denomination’s 173 regional presbyteries for ratification.
The president of Malawi, under pressure from UN and human rights groups, has pardoned a gay couple who were recently sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment with hard labor after they became engaged in a traditional ceremony.
Three months before a major assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, church leaders in Tanzania and Ethiopia—who represent the two largest Lutheran constituencies in Africa—have expressed opposition to “same-sex marriages and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage.”
In the nation’s capital, it now would be legal for Mary Kay Totty to perform marriages of same-sex couples. But in the United Methodist Church, the denomination that ordained Totty two decades ago, that act could get her defrocked. Totty, 46, said she’s willing to take the risk.
Shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in the District of Columbia, Bishop John Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said that its priests may preside at such civil marriages in the nation’s capital.
The New Jersey state senate has voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, prompting a promise from gay-rights advocates to take their campaign to the courts. The final tally on January 7 was 20–14 with three abstentions. It reflected a dramatic shift in the state’s political landscape since gay-marriage supporter Gov.
Christian attitudes toward polygamy are more controversial today than they have been for many years. As Euro-American churches debate the issue of same-sex unions, African Christians attack Westerners for their moral laxity and for caving in to secular hedonism. In response, some Western liberals retort that Africans themselves need to put their own house in order. Do African churches define marriage as a sacrosanct union between one man and one woman? If so, then why do their leaders tolerate polygamous unions?
Facing what they consider “threats” from American culture, prominent Cath olic, evangelical and Orthodox leaders are vowing unspecified civil disobedience against abortion, same-sex marriage and limits on religious liberty.