The U.S. Episcopal Church became the biggest church in the United States to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions after its House of Deputies gave its final approval Tuesday.
The resolution passed with 78 percent approval in the lay order and 76 percent in the clergy order. The House of Deputies is made up of both clergy and lay people.
In the lay order, 86 deputations voted in favor, 19 against; five were divided. In the clergy order, 85 deputations voted in favor, 22 opposed the resolution and four were divided.
The proposed blessing liturgy was initially approved by the Church's House of Bishops Monday during the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, with 111 votes in favor to 41 opposed and three abstentions.
Deputies of opposite views spoke in alternate succession Tuesday afternoon, with those against the proposal urging more time to consider a decision of such magnitude.
The Rev. Sharon Lewis, alternate deputy of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, said the liturgy is more than a “pastoral provision.”
"Let us move together in the heart of Christ, not turn this great big old church that I love so much on a dime,” Lewis said.
Speaking in favor of the blessings, Deputy Jenna Guy from Iowa said the resolution is important to the younger generation of Episcopalians, adding that passing the resolution would bring more people into the Church.
"It’s always with great pride that I tell [people] of the inclusive nature of this Church,” Guy said.
A deputy from Alaska added, "There is never anything wrong with celebrating love.”
The new Episcopal same-sex liturgy is called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant."
Read the rest here.
Well, pardon me a second while I put my jaw back into my mouth! While anything that any church does regarding marriage has little to no direct impact on me, this move by the Episcopal Church must be a welcome turn of affairs for anyone of the GLBT community who wishes to be joined in their faith as well as in the eyes of the law. I can't help but note that a Lesbian friend of mine was recently married in an Episcopal church in upstate New York (after a civil marriage in Massachusetts, before New York State joined the Bay State in legalizing same-sex marriage). It would seem as though Episcopalians are ahead of the curve as it comes to the issue of gay marriage and I salute them for their progressive and empathetic attitude.
No doubt, there will be officials of the catholic church and evangelical representatives who will protest this business loudly and publicly. Bill Donohue will have a kitten and a cat about it, and Pat Robertson will decry it as one more step on the way to Armageddon or some such twaddle.
Yet even as an atheist, I can see this as a positive step, and I'm glad of it.
Hi Loren, When I read about this I was very excited. It's a good sign that our country is making progress on this most important of civil rights issues.
This isn't too surprising. It may result in a split in the church, but I think they might already have split. I get confused about anglicans vs episcopalians.
Didn't the split already happen, as a result of that gay bishop being ordained?
The more I look, the more I see "love thy neighbor" being practiced ONLY so long as thy neighbor is no different from the other party to the relationship. Hypocrisy much?
One of my friends spoke up at this conference. I'm really proud of her :)
Though, at the same time, it's sad that it even needs to be done in the first place.
Indeed, it is a positive step for a major denomination to become more accepting!
And you're quite right about the opposition...
Bill Donohue will have a kitten and a cat about it....
As I was looking for the resolution and the liturgy themselves, I happened across this tweet:
As apropos as ever: "Learn from History!" by "mystic atheist" James Huber:
In the late 1700s some people wanted democratic rule. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that the king ruled by God's will.
In the mid 1800s some people wanted to end slavery. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that God approved of slavery.[...]
When you look back at how your parents and grandparents dealt with these things, are you ashamed or proud?
Now some people want to allow gay marriage. Conservative elements of the church are pointing to the Bible and saying it proves God hates homosexuality.
When your children and grandchildren look back at how you deal with this, will they be ashamed or proud?
Doubtless the RC church will point to the bible and say that god hates homosexuality, even as Huber suggests. Whereupon I will point to the bible and say that god ALSO hates shrimp, crab, and lobster, and that the faithful should be out there, protesting at every Legal Sea Food, Red Lobster and Joe's Crab Shack in existence!
The bible is an absurd, antiquated, retrogressive document which only serves those who want to keep EVERYTHING the SAME and wants NOTHING to change, because it doesn't. Ask those who wish to subscribe to it which century they wish to live in: the 21st or the fourth?
If the bible were so great, it would contain knowledge more advanced than from the first few centuries C.E. It would have predicted democracy, or the internet.
Susan Blackmore wrote in The Meme Machine that one reason for the bible's longevity is that it's so self-contradictory it can support just about any point of view.
One of my favorite buttons: "If you find that God hates the same people you do, you may have created him in your own image."