The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is considering a proposal that would allow members in homosexual relationships to serve as clergy. It has denied a motion to require a higher proportion of votes for the proposal to pass.
On Monday delegates gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center rejected a proposal to require approval from a two-thirds supermajority instead of a simple majority when the measure comes to a final vote, expected on Friday.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson cautioned earlier in the day that the outcome of the majority versus supermajority vote shouldn't be seen as strongly indicating how the debate will be decided.
Supporters of the high threshold for passage said it was necessary to signal wide support for a major change in the church’s approach to homosexuality. About 43 percent of the 1,045 voting delegates supported the higher standard, the Associated Press says.
Other topics of consideration include a broader statement on sexuality, a 34-page document that reportedly would establish a theological framework for differing views of homosexuality. Critics say it would liberalize the ELCA. The vote on that document is scheduled for Wednesday.
The ELCA claims about 4.7 million members and 10,000 congregations in the United States.