Marriage Equality

New overtures for marriage equality. One an amendment to the constitution, the other an authoritative interpretation of existing language.



The two overtures differ in approach in the following ways:
1) Replaces the current text in the Directory for Worship.
2) Provides an Authoritative Interpretation (AI) of current text in the Directory for Worship.
These overtures can work together, with the AI aiming to provide short term relief until the proposed amendment to the Directory for Worship is ratified by a majority of presbyteries.

1. - Replace the Current Text
Posted here is a proposed overture to the next PCUSA General Assembly (2014) seeking to replace the current text on marriage in the Directory for Worship [W-4.9000, Marriage].  The substitute text emphasizes the values of Christian marriage and would permit a service of marriage for a same-sex couple under the direction of a teaching elder and session, in civil jurisdictions where such marriage is legal.
  Presbyterian Rainbow invites sessions to consider this overture for education and for possible action.  Action means sending the overture to your presbytery, which then would decide whether to send it to General Assembly.
  The text of the overture was developed by members of Presbyterian Rainbow. Two national organizations, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and More Light Presbyterians, are recommending this text for consideration by presbyteries nationwide.  This circumstance places some constraints on further modification of the language of the overture proper.  However, each presbytery is expected to develop its own rationale, so that text especially can be subject to further modification as sessions consider adopting the overture.

[Click here to view the amendment overture text]
[Click here to download the amendment overture text in MS Word format]


2. - Authoritative Interpretation
  Another option for addressing the issue of marriage equality is an overture for an Authoritative Interpretation (AI) posted here.  This overture asks the General Assembly to reaffirm the principle of pastoral discretion in determining the fitness of a couple to marry.  Unlike the overture to revise the Directory for Worship, the AI overture does not seek to amend the Book of Order.  An AI can be enacted simply by vote of the General Assembly; it does not need to be sent to presbyteries for their vote.
  The text of the AI overture follows a model recommended to all presbyteries by Covenant Network.  Maintaining the wording of that text will make it easier to satisfy the requirement that at least two presbyteries concur in any overture sent to the General Assembly.  The rationale was developed locally by Presbyterian Rainbow and is more readily open to revision.

[Click here to view the text of the AI overture]
[Click here to download the text of the AI overture in MS Word format]

Questions may be directed through the Contact Us link on this website.