UPDATE: Read The Star-Tribune on the events leading up to and following the vote.
From ELCA News Service:
The 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" Aug. 19 with a vote of 676 (66.67 percent) to 338 (33.33 percent). The passing of the social statement on human sexuality required a two-thirds vote.
The statement, which seems to open the door to greater acceptance of homosexual practice, passed by an exact two-thirds vote a few hours later. One or two votes less would have killed it.
The Lutheran Magazine blog explains,
Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust is the denomination's 10th social statement. Social statements assist Lutherans in their moral deliberation, govern the ELCA's institutional policies and guide the church's advocacy work. The statement addresses a spectrum of topics relevant to human sexuality from a Lutheran perspective.
During debate today there was no mention of ecumenical implications.
Several amendments to the human sexuality statement were approved today in the afternoon plenary session, but all were minor. The statement can be found by following links here. If brief,
A resolution to open the ministry to same-gender candidates living in committed same-gender relationships will take place later in the week. It will require a simple majority to pass, but passed a kind of test vote by the assembly late on Monday.
AP reports here.
Leaders of the country's largest Lutheran denomination have agreed to disagree on homosexuality, endorsing an official statement on human sexuality that says there's room in the church for differing views on an issue that's divided other religious groups.
The 34-page social statement actually touches on homosexuality only briefly, and is intended as a sweeping definition of the ELCA's approach to matters of human sexuality. It also sketches out the church's approach to gender, friendship, marriage and children, cohabitation outside marriage, the commercialization of sexuality, and the global sex trade.