The ban on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) extends to those seeking to become candidates for the ministry, the highest court of the Louisville-based denomination says.

The statement came in a ruling issued this week by the Permanent Judicial Commission of the church’s General Assembly.

The case involved a woman who was accepted in 2005 as a “candidate” for ministry — a formal step toward ordination — by the Mission Presbytery, a local governing body in Texas.

The presbytery voted to approve her candidacy even as its moderator had informed members that the candidate was a lesbian living in a committed, same-sex relationship.

Presbyterian church law allows for the ordination of only those who are in a faithful, heterosexual marriage or who are single and living in chastity. But the moderator told the presbytery that under church case law, the requirement did not apply to those seeking to enter the candidacy process.

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