In a close vote that reflected deep division, Presbyterian church leaders representing the Charlotte area signaled their support Saturday for ending their denomination's longstanding ban on gays and lesbians becoming pastors and elders.
In past years, the Charlotte Presbytery – the fourth largest in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – had backed the prohibition. But after a spirited, civil debate in the chapel at Johnson C. Smith University, the presbytery voted 133-124, with one abstention, to reverse itself.
For the amendment to go into effect, it will have to be endorsed by 87 of the denomination's 173 presbyteries by mid-May. Going into Saturday, the national tally was 32 presbyteries against the change and 18 for it.
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