By Heidi Hall, The Tennessean
An amendment changing the church’s definition of marriage squeaked through a Presbytery of Middle Tennessee vote on Saturday, as local Presbyterians became some of the first in the nation to help decide the issue.
Only 23 of 171 presbyteries — what the denomination calls its regional bodies — have voted on an amendment to change the definition from a “civil contract between a man and a woman” to a “unique commitment between two people.” Middle Tennessee’s outcome was 92 yes, 84 no, a tally celebrated by many but causing consternation in some corners.
The result has no immediate effect in Tennessee, where same-sex marriage remains unrecognized by the state. Should a majority of presbyteries nationwide approve the amendment — a result that likely won’t be known until the end of May — Tennessee pastors could perform religious ceremonies in churches if they chose to do so.
“The immediate reaction to the announcement was one of respect and understanding across the aisle,” said Rev. Warner Durnell, the local executive presbyter.