An amendment to church law, to allow ordination of homosexuals in "partnered relationships", was approved during a Saturday meeting of Presbyterians in Cary.
Nationwide, the church already allows the ordination of some lesbians and gays. But they must remain chaste, because Presbyterian doctrine forbids sex outside of traditional marriage.
A change in that law requires a yes vote by a majority of Presbyterian Church representatives across the nation.
"Some of us sure wish the vote had come out differently, but there was no rancor, no nastiness at all," Presbyterian Elder John Thompson said. "And at the end of the service we joined hands, singing together Blessed Be the Tie That Binds."
A majority of Presbyterian Church representatives must approve the amendment before the change becomes official.
The final voting is expected by mid-May.