GOODBYE, CELIBACY

Lutherans Reverse Ban on Gay Clergy

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted to accept noncelibate gay clergymen and women in "lifelong" relationships after also deciding to open up its congregation to gays in relationships. The 1,045 voting members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s 4.6 million-strong congregation reversed the church's earlier policy, which allowed gays to serve as clergy members only if they vowed to remain celibate. Some voting clergy members in attendance worried making such an allowance would be “encouraging sin,” while others favored “the side of mercy, grace, justice, and love of neighbor.” Though other religious denominations, like Episcopalians and Unitarians, have already accepted gay clergy members, the Evangelical Lutherans are the largest to do so.