Leaders of the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, voted at its national assembly in Minneapolis to ease restrictions on gay and lesbian clergy and allow those in "monogamous" same-sex relationships, reports the Washington Post.
"Previously, only celibate gays were permitted to serve as clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination of 4.8 million members. But delegates to a church assembly voted 559-451 to allow gays in "life-long, monogamous" relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay leaders in the church. Conservatives tried to derail the vote, losing a ballot that would have required a supermajority of two-thirds to approve the proposal. They lost a similar vote earlier in the week."
An anti-gay conservative Minneapolis minister warned that Wednesday's minor tornado damage to the convention center and the city's largest Lutheran church was a "firm warning" against accepting sexually active gay clergy.
The ELCA is onsidered the most "liberal" of the five Lutheran sects and is one of the nation's s largeest Christian denominations. The vote by the church's predominately Midwestern membership moves its closer to the more progressive Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ which allow gay clergy members.