Civil union and marriage issues questions and answers

July 14, 2010


A summary of the 219th General Assembly’s actions on issues of civil union and Christian marriage:

What did the General Assembly do? What has changed?

The General Assembly approved both the final report and the minority report of the Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage and ordered they be sent out for study by the wider church. The vote was 439 in favor, 208 against, with 6 abstentions. By this action (sending both reports for study) the Assembly maintained the definition of marriage as between “a man and a woman.” With the action to send the reports for study, no change has occurred, or is pending.

What does it mean?

The special committee report provides descriptive material on the historical and theological aspects of marriage, as well as a look at current laws on same-gender partnerships and their children, and the place of same-gender covenanted relationships in the Christian community. They commend to the church their covenant, “Those Whom God Has Joined, Let No One Separate” as a guide for Presbyterians to come together to discuss difficult issues when there is disagreement. The minority report, also approved for study by the Assembly, concludes that Scripture is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman only and does not support any kind of sexual behavior outside heterosexual marriage. The minority report also contains a covenant for the wider church to use.

What next?

The special committee report and the minority report will be prepared for distribution as one document to the wider church. By sending both reports to the wider church, it is the hope of the Assembly that Presbyterians will find helpful background information on civil unions and marriage, as well as material to help individuals and groups remain together as they work through these difficult issues.

Where can you learn more?

Read the majority report online

Read the minority report online

  1. I am not sure about the meaning behind your Corinthians reference, Kellie, but I just wanted you to know that I am a Presbyterian who wears a headcovering (doily, bandance, cloth, etc. no hijab) every day. I do not discriminate against certain scriptures or insult their importance. I do not believe it is a grave sin for others that do not follow this commandment (request, suggestion, etc) because it is so often misunderstood. Homosexuality is obviously wrong according to the Bible, that is why I do not support gay marriage.

    by Ashley McGee

    November 2, 2010

  2. I was going to join the Presbyterian Church and took the new member class. Heard today at Church that gay marriage was voted down. We can't choose to pick and use scriptures and ignore others, this is true. So then, what about Corinthians, with men not covering their heads and women who must cover their heads? Should I wear hijab? The Holy Bible is a guideline to ruminate and consider when making ethical and moral decisions in the modern age. It is not a template for all ages. God entrusts us with the wisdom to make correct decisions after thoughtful and prayerful consideration. As far as the comment regarding incest, do you not remember Lot and his children?

    by Kellie Bodeker

    August 29, 2010

  3. There is no same gender covenanted relationships in the Christian community. This ia an abomination. Who do these people think they are? People will try to say that what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong. It doesnt matter what man thinks or wants. What GOD says is right not what man says.

    by Kurt Malerich

    July 27, 2010

  4. Why stop with same sex marriage? Why not include marriage between brother and sister; sister and sister; brother and brother; mother and son; father and daughter? Radical? No more so than same sex. If the Scriptures are going to be ignored, then go all the way.

    by Albert Friend

    July 18, 2010

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