INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Episcopal Church at its 77th General Convention,
meeting in Indianapolis, decided today, by a large majority, to
authorize a service for same-sex couples. Starting on December 2, 2012,
Episcopal clergy, with the agreement of their bishop, will be able to
bless same-sex unions using the provisional liturgy authorized today by
the Convention, the Church’s governing body.
USA has been working for thirty five years towards the full inclusion
of LGBT persons in the Church. Same-gender unions have been blessed in
Episcopal churches all over the country for decades, but this is the
first time a church-wide public service has been agreed. It is a
milestone in the journey toward achieving full inclusion, and being able
to truly declare that “all means all” in the worship life of the
denomination. It will enable Integrity to reach out to LGBT persons who
have been rejected by the churches they were raised in, as well as those
who were raised without any connection to Christianity.
The new blessing liturgy is not a marriage service. It does not use the
language of marriage, but emphasizes the lifelong, monogamous, committed
nature of the relationship being blessed. Integrity will continue to
work for full marriage equality in The Episcopal Church. The president
of Integrity, The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall, said “This is a hugely
important moment in the history of this church. The Episcopal Church
does not have statement of belief other than the ancient creeds. We say
that if you want to know what we believe, you can look at the words of
our worship. So a liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships brings gay
and lesbian couples fully into the life of the Church and proclaims
that the Episcopal Church considers that their lives can be holy and
blessed by God.”
This permission for same-sex blessings follows the addition of “gender
identity and expression” to the non-discrimination laws of The Episcopal
Church yesterday. This change makes it unlawful for transgender persons
to be excluded from leadership positions, either lay or ordained, based
solely on their status as transgender.
For further information, please contact Louise Emerson Brooks, at email@example.com.