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The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will allow its pastors to preside at same-sex weddings.

In two overwhelming votes, the nation's sixth-largest protestant denomination approved the practice in the 19 states where same-sex marriage is legal and approved presbytery-by-presbytery decisions to change the definition of marriage from a man and a woman to two people.

In 2011, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved ordaining clergy with same-sex partners. Since then, 428 of the denomination's more than 10,000 churches have left for other more conservative denominations or have dissolved. The church now has about 1.8 million members.

A 2010 Association of Religion Data Archives report showed about 57,000 members in Tennessee.

It's unclear whether the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee — which takes in 89 churches between the Tennessee River and the Cumberland Plateau — would approve the definition change, said the Rev. Mary Louise McCullough, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville. That decision would be made in summer 2015.

"It's a huge step in the right direction for our denomination, and we can only hope that more will follow as the culture changes and as states continue to move forward on this and legalize marriage for everyone," she said. "We hope that Tennessee will do that and that we can be part of that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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