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A day after a legislative body of the Episcopal Church voted to sell the denomination’s New York headquarters amid budget cuts and declining membership, church leaders on Saturday adopted legislation to give transgenders the right to become lay and ordained ministers.

At the church’s ongoing week-long General Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., the House of Bishops approved proposal that would amend two canons to prohibit discrimination based on “gender identity or expression” in the lay and ordained ministry discernment process and in the overall life, worship and governance of the church, Episcopal News Service reported.

The House of Deputies, the other legislative body of the bicameral General Convention of the Episcopal Church, must approve the legislation to pass at the convention.

In the past few years, 200,000 members and 300 parishes have left the denomination partly due to the church’s leftist policies on social and political issues. Nine years ago, the church approved its first openly gay bishop.

For many in the church, Saturday’s resolution was about “inclusion.”

“I am pleased that these resolutions did pass in that they have the very significant effect of validating, in the eyes of the church, the humanity of those who are transgender,” the Rev. Carolyn Woodall of the Diocese of San Joaquin was quoted as saying. “We are greatly misunderstood and there is a widespread lack of knowledge about what it means to be transgender.”

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