The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, a central Alabama group of churches affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), voted 75-39 Thursday in favor of approving gay marriages.
They became one of about 38 presbyteries nationwide that have voted in favor of gay marriage, with 14 voting against. [Current vote total is 44-17] The change to the 1.8-million-member denomination’s official stance will become official if 81 of the 171 presbyteries vote in favor.
Commissioners representing churches from Tuscaloosa to Anniston and Birmingham to Montgomery debated the issue at their meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa.
Two dozen people, ministers and lay members, spoke on the issue, taking turns between for and against.
The Rev. Ed Hurley, pastor of South Highland Presbyterian Church, spoke against it. “We really don’t need to jump ahead of the Episcopalians on this issue,” Hurley said.