Thursday, July 12, 2012

Voices of Faith: Episcopal church approves blessings, opposes DOMA

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Voices of Faith
Meeting in its triennial General Convention, the Episcopal Church has voted by a large majority to approve a "provisional liturgy"to bless same sex couples in faithful, committed relationships.  Up to now, individual bishops could employ "wide pastoral latitude" in allowing blessings (approximately 30 did) but now there is a church wide process.

While the church is careful to say this is not marriage, its language and symbolism are clearly very close.  Activists hope that a revision of the marriage liturgy will eventually take place so that there is not a separate gay-specific rite;  however, that will involve considerable discussion.   Meanwhile, this is a significant step.

Not everyone is thrilled by this, of course, and 12 Bishops wrote a minority statement in opposition (there are nearly 300 members of the House of Bishops, and 100 Episcopal dioceses ) but individual Bishops as well as individual priests remain free to refuse to conduct this ceremony.  Sadly for LGBT people living in unfriendly dioceses, blessings will not be uniformly accessible.

By a large majority, General Convention also voted to call for the repeal of DOMA, and passed a resolution deploring the use of violent language from Christian clergy and lay people against LGBT folks.

The Episcopal Church has become one of the largest denominations that is generally gay-friendly.  There are two openly gay, partnered bishops,  and numerous out clergy. If you are religiously inclined,  you might want to check them out.   (Obligatory disclaimer, my wife is Epsicopalian).

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