Presbyterian (U.S.A.) high court to hear case of gay elder

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2001

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The supreme court of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has scheduled arguments this month in the case of a gay man whose 1997 installation as an elder in a Connecticut church has been challenged.

The hearing of the Permanent Judicial Commission will be Sept. 14 at the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel in Downers Grove, Ill.

Two members of the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford, Conn., filed the judicial action that has kept Wayne Osborne from the lay leadership position to which church members elected him.

Osborne has acknowledged he is gay, but he has declined to say whether he is sexually active. A clause in the Presbyterian constitution bars gays who are sexually active from becoming church officeholders.

The case centers on how much church leaders can ask potential church officers about their sexual behavior.

The denomination's General Assembly this year voted to lift the gay ban. But the measure still must be ratified by a majority of the church's 173 presbyteries, or regional legislatures, over the next year.



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