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Two prominent Protestant denominations will be debating marriage equality at national meetings, starting this weekend.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly will meet in Pittsburgh from June 30 to July 7. Among the most contentious issues to be debated will be whether to conduct blessings for gay and lesbian couples in member churches.
The Episcopal Church's triennial General Convention will be held from July 5 to July 12 in Indianapolis. One of America's most progressive and liberal denominations, the Episcopal Church has been blessing gay and lesbian couples for many years. This year, the convention will discuss whether to change the legal definition of marriage within church liturgy to avoid gender designations.
If approved, the proposal, called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," would be a three-year experiment within Episcopal churches. The convention would then review the experiment in three years to decide whether to make it permanent.
Both denominations have been slowly and steadily moving toward full inclusion of the LGBT community within their congregations. However, each denomination has faced resistance from some congregations, which have broken away from their national organizations.