We came one vote closer to ending the dispute over the PC(USA)’s ordination requirements when the South Louisiana Presbytery voted “no” on April 4, 2009, bringing the total number of “no” votes to 82, just 5 shy of the number needed to defeat the amendment. In the meantime, three more presbyteries voted in favor of the amendment: Long Island, Northern New York and San Jose. All three voted to amend the constitution when the issue arose in 2001 as well. The current vote count is 82 against the amendment and 65 for it.
Of the four presbyteries who have voted since my last blog post, none of them were surprises, except perhaps for the margin in San Jose. On April 4, 2009, the San Jose Presbytery voted 84-81 in favor of the amendment, a difference of only three votes. Bucking the trend that has been seen throughout the denomination, San Jose came very close to moving from a “yes” vote in 2001 to a “no” vote in 2008/09. Quite a few presbyteries have switched from a “no” to a “yes”, but San Jose would have been the first to flip/flop the other way around. In 2001 San Jose voted 86-75 in favor of removing the fidelity and chastity requirement. Unlike most other presbyteries voting for the amendment, San Jose’s “margin of victory” has actually shrunk over the past 8 years (from an 11 vote difference to only 3 and from 53.4% in favor of the amendment to only 50.9%).
26 presbyteries still need to hold their votes.