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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: March 6, 2006
Latest Update: March 6, 2006
This backup copy is to be used only if the original site on the Web is not accessible. It is meant to preserve the document for teaching purposes, when sometimes the URLS are changed when sites are updated, or sites are eliminated. Please be certain to give credit if you refer to this to the original URL: http://www.elca.org/faithfuljourney/policy/. Original URL, consulted: March 6, 2006.
Current Policy of the ELCA
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) currently does not have a social statement of its own on human sexuality, but relies on the social statements of its predecessor church bodies. In the light of those social statements, the ELCA has spoken on certain topics on which there is general consensus in the ELCA in the message "Sexuality: Some Common Convictions" (1996). This message covers such things as: single adults, marriage, responsible procreation and parenting, the ending of a marriage, and some misuses of sexuality. The message does not include a discussion of homosexuality because this is a subject of ongoing discussion in the ELCA.
The ELCA has acted to welcome gay and lesbian people to participate fully in the life of its congregations and to reject discrimination, assault, and harassment of gay and lesbian persons, and it has called for "discerning conversations" within the church to understand the Spirit's leading in this situation. To encourage such conversations, the ELCA has produced a number of resources to aid in the conversation.
The ELCA has not taken a position on the blessing of same-sex committed relationships. It has declined to change its policy on the ordination of people in a same-sex relationship set forth in the Division for Ministry's Vision and Expectations.
The policy basis on questions related to homosexual behavior continues to be from Lutheran Church in America (LCA, 1970) and American Lutheran Church (ALC, 1980) social statements.
At the 2005 Churchwide Assembly, the Assembly voted to adopt Recommendation Two from the ELCA Church Council regarding blessing of same-sex unions, that the church not adopt a policy, but continue to follow the advice of the Conference of Bishops. The advice states that there is no basis for an official ceremony, and that pastors are trusted to provide pastoral care. See below 2005 Churchwide Assembly