The largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S. will allow pastors to preside at gay weddings in states that recognize same-sex marriage.
The Presbyterian General Assembly voted 61 percent to 39 percent in favor of allowing ministers to decide whether to perform the ceremonies. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage.
The vote came Thursday during a meeting of the church's top legislative body in Detroit. Later, the General Assembly will also consider whether to change the definition of Christian marriage in the church constitution.
In 2011, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) eliminated barriers to ordaining clergy with same-sex partners. Since then, 428 of the denomination's more than 10,000 churches have left for other more conservative denominations or have dissolved. The church now has about 1.8 million members.
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