The last yes vote on amendment B came in last night. Missouri River Valley voted 50-41-6 in favor! Previously, that presbytery consistently had voted against equality. 34 presbyteries flipped from a previous no to a yes on equality!
Of the two remaining presbyteries, one will not vote, and the other will likely be a voice vote no. This Missouri vote was nice as according to this article a committee of legislation had advised the presbytery to take 'no action' which would have been the same as a no.
The final score will be 78-95 (or 78-93-2 as two presbyteries didn't vote). It is much closer than that. I am pleased that Bruce Hahne painstakingly did the stats for this. Here is his latest wrap (not including tonight's vote).
The "popular" vote (not including Missouri River Valley) was 10,359 in favor to 10,791 opposed or 49%-51%. That's tight.
Even the presbytery vote was closer than 78-95 shows. If nine more presbyteries had voted yes, it would have passed, 87-86.
Here are the nine with the closest no votes. They are listed with their final vote. If the number of commissioners (in parentheses) had voted yes instead of no, it would have taken only 20 votes to turn this. Twenty out of over 21,000.
Central Nebraska--21-21 (1)
Mission 181-181 (1)
St. Augustine--68-75 (4)
Eastern Oklahoma--49-56 (4)
If a butterfly beat her wing a different direction in the Amazon, it would have happened.
Mini-rant: People on both sides didn't think it could happen. Before the voting even started, allies (allies!?) were defeatist and threw in the towel with the "no action" option. Better not to try in the first place than to try and lose?
A lot of good things happened this year. The General Assembly ruled a 30 year authoritative interpretation as having no further force or effect. Beautiful.
The General Assembly also passed ye olde scruple (which might make it possible for some LGBT people to be ordained) so we take what we can get. Between now and June 2010 when the next General Assembly meets we will likely have some court cases ("scruple me this, Batman").
One session has already sent a delete G-6.0106b to its presbytery.
Not sure yet what the opposition will be up to doing. They might try to pass some moratorium on voting or whatever.
I am for a moratorium. Along with a moratorium on voting to remove G-6.0106b, I propose a moratorium on court cases. No more court cases against LGBT people, sessions, or presbyteries. Allow LGBT candidates to be ordained and let G-6.0106b stay in the book for all I care (as it says nothing about LGBT people anyway).
I am not talking about the scruple thing. I mean no scruples, hassles, extra hoops, or court cases regarding LGBT ordination. Period. In return, for the other side, to respect their freedom of conscience, no hassling of those who refuse to participate in an ordination/installation service of an LGBT candidate.
I am not sure how that would be written up and I am not sure if both sides could compromise on this. Who knows? Maybe the General Assembly will work a miracle and allow a compromise that will respect freedom of conscience for everyone without having to go through another vote.
I do know that from my side, anything short of allowing ordination/installation of LGBT persons is not acceptable. After all, we are only 20 commissioner votes away.
Kudos and many, many thanks to More Light Presbyterians, Covenant Network, That All May Freely Serve and all who worked with them.
Thanks especially to all those who attended presbytery meetings and told the truth.
Thanks also to those in the opposition who were gracious through this. I do know that most who voted no are not homophobic, against equality, or mean spirited. We are all struggling to do the right thing. We do need to find a space large enough to protect the freedom of conscience of the minority (whoever that minority will be).
Many important stories were told in this process. Many hearts and minds were changed. It was disappointing, I know. But, we will get there and the journey itself is gracious. The ultimate hope is that there will not be two sides but one.