This week, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officially amended its church constitution to expand its definition of marriage as a more inclusive “commitment between two people,” allowing for gay marriage. The new wording also includes the phrase “traditionally a man and a woman.” The move isn’t entirely surprising. Last year, the church’s general assembly granted approval for the change, but a vote among local leaders was still necessary for it to be ratified. Since last fall, the church says, “members of congregations elected to serve as ruling elders have come together to pray, discuss, and try to discern the mind of Christ” on the issue.

Yesterday, the church announced that it had the votes among presbyteries (local districts) to ratify the measure: “While the Office of the General Assembly is still awaiting official tallies, it appears that a majority of the 171 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have approved a change to the current description of marriage in the PC(USA)’s Constitution.” The announcement also said, “The General Assembly also included in those changes clear language that no teaching elder or session can be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony if they do not believe it is appropriate.” The change goes into effect this summer …