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One of the nation's largest religious denominations has amended its definition of marriage to include a "commitment between two people," thus recognizing same-sex marriage in its Christian church constitution.
 
The historic vote on Tuesday night by The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) comes after decades of debate over same-sex relationships. 
 
The Associated Press reports: The redefinition was endorsed last year by the church General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the Louisville, Kentucky-based denomination’s 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th “yes” vote came Tuesday night from the Presbytery of the Palisades in New Jersey.
 
The change will take place on June 21 once all regional bodies finish voting and church leaders officially accept the results. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has nearly 1.8 million members and roughly 10,000 congregations. It is the largest Protestant group to affirm same-sex weddings across the church. 
 
While the amendment includes a provision that no clergy would be compelled to preside over same-sex weddings or host such ceremonies on church property, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches and, in Judaism, the Reform and Conservative movements that have officially decided to permit their clergy to perform gay and lesbian weddings.The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America similarly left it open for individual ministers to opt out.
 
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