The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) made a historic decision this past week when it voted to lift its ban on noncelibate lesbian and gay pastors and to allow for those in committed same-sex relationships to serve as ministers. Leaders of the nation’s biggest Lutheran denomination voted 559-541 to open the pulpit to gays.
“By allowing for same-sex couples in committed relationships to serve their call to ministry and by creating policies that respect LGBT people in their congregations, ELCA is modeling for other religious communities what it means to be a faith community that honors all of God’s children,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in a press release issued this week by the HRC. “This is a joyous day for the LGBT Lutheran’s who no longer have to choose between their spirituality and their sexuality.”
“The Holy Spirit has moved powerfully in the community called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, working through the courageous advocacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our allies,” said Harry Knox, Director for HRC’s Religion and Faith Program. “Thanks be to God for our colleagues at Lutherans Concerned and all of the Goodsoil coalition! The ELCA has studied, prayed and listened to the witness of its LGBT sisters and brothers, and has come to consensus in community. This decision reflects the best of Lutheran tradition.”