11 arrested at Presbyterian convention

9:35 PM, Jul 9, 2010   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Police arrested eleven protestors who interrupted the Presbyterian Church's proceedings Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. 

Eighteen members of Soulforce, a gay advocacy group, filed to the front of the convention hall holding signs that read "Prayer: Ordination, Marriage, Pension."

The protestors said they staged the "pray-in" over the issue of same-sex marriage in the church.  This week, church leaders voted to allow non-celibate gay clergy to be ordained and to extend benefits to same-sex partners of church employees.

Church leaders, however, declined to change language in their constitution that would define marriage as between two people instead of between a man and a woman.

The protestors refused to leave and 11 were arrested and escorted outside the Convention Center.

Police issued citations and released those who were arrested.

Back inside the Convention Center, church leaders addressed the protest.

"This discussion has been going on in the church for quite a long time and so they're frustrated," said Moderator and Church Elder Cynthia Bolbach.

Outside, Soulforce's Exec. Director, Dr. Rev. Cindi Love, said she was satisfied that at least their message was heard.

"It's absolutely not okay for the church of Jesus Christ to continue to exclude people from the sacraments that are afforded to anyone else," she said.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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