There's no official statement on sexuality, but right now in the ELCA, single ordained ministers are supposed to be chaste; straight married ordained ministers must be monogomous and faithful to one another; queer ordained ministers are supposed to abstain from same-sex relationships.
Generally, however, one cannot be out while seeking ordination within the Lutheran church. One of my friends told me about a conversation he had with his ordination committee; the conversation started with the question "Are you gay?" and when he said no, they said good and continued on. I don't think that's the most pertinent question in considering someone's candidacy for ordination. I'm also in a GLBTQ Pastoral Care class this semester; the official name of the class had to be "Identity and Communities" because some denominations would not approve of a "GLBTQ" class name on a transcript.
In the proposal released this week, the Committee on Human Sexuality recommends a four step process, moving towards allowing congregations to have people in same-sex relationships on the offical ELCA rosters. However, if one resolution isn't approved, then the whole process stops. It's pretty much contingent on the approval of all of them.
Step OnePersonally, I think sexual orientation has little to do with how a person leads a church congregation. This is good news for out and closeted GLBTQ people serving in positions of faithful leadership in the ELCA. Let's hope the recommendations by the task force end up getting approved this summer, and that some ELCA churches will stop using sexual orientation as a litmus test for ordination.
Step one asks the assembly whether, in principle, it is committed to finding ways to allow congregations and synods that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.
Step two asks the assembly whether, in principle, this church is committed to finding a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church.
Step three asks this church whether, in the future implementation of these commitments, it will make decisions so that all in this church bear the burdens of the other, and respect the bound consciences of all. This means that any solution that serves only the conscience-bound positions of one or another part of this church will not be acceptable.
Step four proposes how this church can move toward change in a way that respects the bound consciences of all. It recognizes that such respect will lead to diversity of practice. However, the majority of the task force believes that the conscience-bound lack of consensus will be respected most faithfully by providing some structured flexibility in decision-making so that congregations and synods may choose whether or not to approve or call people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve on ELCA rosters.
In reaching this conclusion, the task force acknowledges that the existing policies and practices of this church give responsibility for decisions related to the approval or disapproval of candidates for rostered service or for a specific call to synodical call committees, bishops, and congregations. That is, individuals and groups are trusted to make these decisions. The task force also acknowledges that such decision-making takes place within a carefully determined process of mutual discernment by those seeking call and the representatives of this church.
I wonder if Jesus made his disciples swear they were straight before asking them to join his posse. Aren't faithful Christians trying to be more like Jesus? Show me a verse where Jesus says we should deny church leadership based on a person's sexual orientation and I'll stop arguing for ordination for all.
Note: I'm not Lutheran so I could be getting some of the particulars wrong - leave a comment if I'm misreading this.