Officials at a South Tampa Presbyterian Church have voted to allow gay marriage for members of their congregation.
In a 75 percent vote, elders at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church decided in favor of extending the right to marry to gay couples.
“They’ve left it to the pastors for the discerning judgment whom they should bring the ordinance of marriage toward,” Pastor John DeBevoise said. “Those that have voted in favor of it have come to the conclusion that we are wrong to take a whole group of society and simply bar them from participating in the fellowship or an ordinance of the church.”
Gay couples within their congregation would still have to be vetted by pastors and determined to be spiritually worthy to wed.
Last summer, the Presbyterian Church voted nationally to allow same-sex marriage.
In March, 171 regional church bodies voted in favor of amending the definition of marriage in the church’s “Book of Order” from “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”
Palma Ceia Presbyterian has never had a same-sex marriage nor is there one currently scheduled.