ELCA assembly votes to oppose November referendum - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

ELCA assembly votes to oppose November referendum

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- Southeast Minnesota ELCA members are gathering in Rochester this weekend for their yearly synod, but Friday's meetings revolved around a rather divisive issue. The group took a vote on whether to support or oppose a November referendum on a definition of marriage.

A topic that has some ELCA members threatening to walk out the door.

Marsha Nagel, a synod voter says, "A number of years back we passed a social statement on human sexuality, Our Gifts and Talents, and part of that social statement included working for justice for all people."

At the yearly assembly for Southeast Minnesota church members, the issue of gay marriage comes front and center as the church moves to either support or oppose a November referendum defining marriage.

Nagel says, "In the past, at some point, a similar thing in the Southwest Synod passed in opposition to legalizing or defining laws against justice and equality."

The debate in the meeting was split evenly on both sides.

Another synod attendee says, "When you change the definition of marriage, you will inevitably de-value the marriage of one woman..traditional marriage."

Jason Glaser, who voted on the issues says, "They regularly tell me that my marriage was invalid and that my wife and I lived in sin and they don't recognize us being married because we were married by a female pastor."

In the end, the vote showed just how divisive the issue is.

The vote ended up 229 in favor of opposing the referendum and 174 voting to not take a stance. Just more than 50 votes separate the two sides and now the church will oppose the referendum. Yet as the vote total makes apparent, there still may be convincing to do within their own ranks.

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