All for love and love for all… most

Local church commends national presbyterian church for amending its definition of marriage to include same-sex couples

Alexandra Seymour

Lexington Presbyterian Church supports the national Presbyterian Church’s vote last Tuesday to amend its constitution’s definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

Instead of marriage being between “a man and a woman,” the Book of Order now reads that it is between “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

“It’s a good understanding of where our faith has been leading us,” Lexington Presbyterian Church Pastor Bill Klein said. “I think the church is meant to be inclusive, not exclusive, so I welcome it.”

But Klein said that even though he believes that any couple serious about their faith should be permitted to marry, he knows that not everybody will easily accept this new definition.

There are differing opinions among the members of Lexington Presbyterian Church and even the church’s session, which is the body of elected elders that govern each congregation.

“The big difference is how people understand what Scripture is,” Klein said.

While this definition change passed by a majority vote of 87 to 41 of the church’s 171 regional bodies, called presbyteries, it’s not mandated that churches enforce this new interpretation.

But Klein said that it’s not impossible that same-sex couples will be permitted to wed in Lexington.

“I don’t automatically marry any heterosexual couples,” Klein said. “[So] ones would not be automatically excluded because they were same sex.”

As of yet, no same-sex couples have requested marriage from Lexington Presbyterian Church.

After Klein is approached with a marriage request, he said he converses with them to see where they are coming from before recommending them to the church’s session.

The session then chooses whether to approve marriages on a case-by-case basis. With 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations, Presbyterian Church USA is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States, making these effects widespread.

Opposition has primarily come from more conservative congregations of PCUSA, many of which have separated from the denomination.

“In His Word, the Bible, God has already defined marriage, as well as sin,” WorldNetDaily reported Evangelist Franklin Graham wrote on his Facebook page, “and we should obey that rather than looking for ways to redefine it according to the desires of our culture.”

But many Washington and Lee students have supported the church’s decision.

“I think it’s a great thing because it incorporates more people into the church, which means that more people get to know about God,” Esther Choi, ‘17, a member of the Presbyterian Church, said.

Choi’s view was supported by students like United Methodist Church member Katie Windle, ’17, who hopes the change will extend to her church as well.

“I think allowing same-sex couples to get married is better than just a civil union because the church is finally acknowledging that love is love no matter who it’s between,” Windle said. “Man and woman, man and man, woman and woman—it’s all the same.”

While others feel that the church should not redefine marriage because it challenges traditional beliefs, some are conflicted because they have friends and family that this amendment would benefit.

Due to the sensitivity of the matter, others interviewed declined to comment for publication.