Gay Marriage At Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly Voted Down

“It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long,” Anderson wrote Sullivan, “I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something — something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.”
I’ve chatted with Anderson Cooper over the past few years, mostly at the gym, sometimes passing on gay-related stories I’ve focused on, mostly about homophobia experienced by young LGBT people. I’ve also appeared on AC 360. I’ve found him to be dedicated and sincere in his focus on gay issues, particularly as they relate to young people. I’m sure it’s been tough for him — being sincere to the issues he’s concerned about but keeping mum about this part of himself, seeming insincere to those very same young people he cared about. There are those who are saying it’s “no big deal,” or “so what?” or “who cares?” or just offering a big yawn. But, in this time of intense bullying in schools and too many reports of teen suicides, they just don’t get how important it is for young gay people to know every single person in the public eye who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
And the glass closet — those closets of people like Anderson, who have been known of and thought of as gay, but have not said it — can perhaps be even more damaging than closets that are less transparent. A mother of a gay son who called my radio program yesterday explained that she was so ecstatic that Cooper was now out because her young son certainly was able to glean, like many others, that Anderson was gay, but also gleaned that he was likely afraid of being open. And that, she said, was a bad message for her son. But seeing Anderson out and proud, she said, tells her son that there is nothing to fear.
Members of the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination on Friday voted against a proposal that would have created a path to same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church.
After more than three hours of debate at the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s biennial General Assembly in Pittsburgh, voters struck down a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, 338-308; no voters abstained.
The proposal would have changed the church’s Book of Order to define marriage as between “two people.” It would have required approval by a majority of the church’s 173 presbyteries, or regional governing bodies, in order to become final.
Following Friday’s vote, the church will keep its definition of marriage as being a union between “a man and a woman.”
“God, we are a divided church,” said the Rev. Neal Presa, a New Jersey pastor and the General Assembly moderator, while guiding church members in prayer after the vote. Presa asked God for guidance through “the messiness and beauty of it all.”
The decision at the General Assembly, which is made up of pastors and lay people, means that pro-same sex marriage activists must wait two years until the church’s next national meeting to make marriage-related proposals.
But the climate for a same-sex marriage vote could be on the activists’ side in the future. During deliberations and several votes on different versions of marriage proposals on Thursday, younger members of the church expressed support for same-sex marriage much more strongly than the church’s older members. Church surveys also show an increasingly pro-same-sex marriage stance as the younger Presbyterians gain more leadership positions.
In the short term, the vote also means that many conservative congregations threatening to leave the denomination likely will stay. The 1.9-million member church, which had more than 2.1 million members two years ago, has quickly lost congregations and individual members in part because of its increasingly liberal views on homosexuality. According to the Presbyterian News Service, at least 100 congregations have defected in recent years.
While all Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations are affiliated on a national level, individual congregations differ widely on matters such as worship style and views on issues such as homosexuality. More liberal pastors have been known to publicly or privately officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies, but they have risked censure.
There are several smaller Presbyterian denominations, such as Presbyterian Church in America and Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, which lean more conservative and do not ordain gay people or official same-sex marriages.
 U.S. Democratic Representative Barney Frank wed his longtime partner, James Ready, on Saturday, becoming the first sitting congressman to enter into a same-sex marriage.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officiated the ceremony and added some levity by saying Frank, 72, and Ready, 42, had vowed to love each other through Democratic and Republican administrations alike, and even through appearances on Fox News, according to Al Green, a Democratic congressman from Texas.

“Barney was beaming,” said Green, who attended the ceremony. He added that Frank, a champion of gay rights and the sweeping reform of Wall Street, shed a tear during the ceremony.

After exchanging their vows, Frank and Ready embraced each other, Green said. “It was no different than any other wedding I’ve attended when you have two people who are in love with each other,” Green said.

Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat and a former chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, has been an openly gay congressman since the late 1980s.

He is well known for his legislative acumen, including as an architect of the reforms in the Dodd-Frank bill, which U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis following the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market.

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