Yesterday was a banner day for equality, and two stories in The Birmingham News reflect this.
On the front page is the story about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voting to allow non-celibate gays to serve as clergy.
Actually what they voted for was to evaluate candidates on the basis of "calling, gifts, preparation and suitability."
There is no mention of sexual orientation or sexual ethics in the proposed language.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the nations 10th largest Christian church in the United States, with 2.8 million members.
A majority of the church's 173 U. S. presbyteries still must approve the policy change. Two years ago, 94 presbyteries voted against the change.
Here is the news as reported on the church web site.
The church did, however, vote to retain their discriminatory definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
But progress is slow, especially in churches, so let's celebrate this small (huge) victory.
In an unrelated action (but related to yesterday's post), the Presbyterian assembly voted to "refrain from holding national meetings in states where travel by immigrant Presbyterians or Presbyterians of color might subject them to harassment due to legislation."
Good for them!
In other marriage related news, and probably the biggest story, is that a federal court has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The ruling only applies to Massachusetts, which challenged DOMA on the basis that it forced discrimination on the state's same sex married couples. But it gives encouragement to other states that permit same-sex marriage, and gives heart to the LGBT community at large.
It is unclear as to whether the ruling will be appealed. The U. S. Justice Department would file the appeal, but President Obama has stated that the law is discriminatory and wants it overturned. So let's just see how that plays out.
Here is the DOMA decision. You can click on "full screen" to read the entire thing.
Here are reactions from pro-equality organizations.
Equality opponents are blaming SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan (who filed a brief in the case for upholding DOMA when she was solicitor general) for deliberately sabotaging the case.