Voting members at this week's gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's chief legislative authority turned down a motion to require a two-thirds majority to approve changes to the denomination's policies on the hiring of church leaders.
The 57-43 percent vote against the proposal came in the evening of the first day of the 2009 ELCA Church Assembly in Minneapolis, where more than 2,300 Lutherans, including 1,045 voting members, have convened.
Though supporters of the supermajority said a higher hurdle was needed to signal wide support for a proposal they view as a major change in the church's approach to homosexuality, Monday's vote effectively leaves in place a recommendation that a simple majority vote be sufficient for the proposed policy changes.
A vote to allow non-celibate people living in committed same-gender relationships to be on the professional rosters of ELCA is scheduled for Friday, two days before this week's biennial church assembly concludes.
Aside from acting on the recommendation on ministry policies and a proposed social statement on human sexuality, ELCA voting members at this week's gathering will consider various churchwide program proposals, conduct elections and consider memorials and resolutions.
The assembly theme is "God's work. Our hands."