The Marriage Amendment, 14-F: What it does and doesn’t do

Amendment 14-F does

  • Accurately describe marriage as “a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives”;
  • Recognize that marriage is not solely a private matter between two people, but also involves family, church, community, society, and God;
  • Emphasize underlying principles rather than regulatory details;
  • Honestly reflect current reality, consistent with the long history of evolving understandings of marriage – especially as affirmation of the equal dignity of women has lessened the prominence of strict gender roles.

Amendment 14-F does not

  • Require any minister to officiate at a marriage of which he or she disapproves;
  • Remove the responsibility of a minister to counsel with the couple seeking to be married;
  • Change the responsibility of a Session in the approval of marriages on church property;
  • Violate freedom of conscience in the interpretation of Scripture for Presbyterians of any perspective.

Approving Amendment 14-F will not eliminate the differences in the ways Presbyterians understand Scripture, but it better reflects the reality that there is a variety of views within our communion.

The 221st GA approved Amendment 14-F by a 71% margin – seemingly, expressing the strong desire to help the PC(USA) move beyond the decades-long conflict over human sexuality by ensuring that the Book of Order embraces the faithful views of a diverse church.

The Office of the General Assembly has provided a side-by-side comparison of the proposed language to the current text.

A collection of resources — including the work of Biblical scholars and theologians whose understanding of Scripture leads them to affirm same-gender marriage — is available here.

Comments

  1. Phyllis A Pinkerton says:

    I am the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (William F Pinkerton) who was the founding pastor of Southminister Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho. My family has been in the Presbyterian Church since its formation in Scotland. My ancestors came to America in the late 1700’s to be able to practice their faith in freedom. Even though I left the church to become a Buddhist 40 years ago I still follow the issues that the church has become involved in and I was so proud and happy that the Presbyterian Church in in the forefront of the issue of same sex marriage. I look forward to the news from next years General Assembly that this issue has been passed by the membership of the church.

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