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Marriage Equality: A Key to Evangelism

posted Jul 5, 2012, 4:20 PM by Mel Soriano
by Mary O'Shaughnessey
Integrity / NYC Metro Convener and General Convention Volunteer

Resolution C105: “Marriage Equality”  
“Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention revise the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church with regard to marriage, to reflect the fact that some jurisdictions provide by law, or will provide by law, civil marriage or civil unions for same-gender couples."

(Resolutions are numbered with a letter prefix that indicates where the resolution came from. "C" means that it is a resolution proposed by a diocese; in this case, the diocese of Maryland.)

I testified in order to support the passage of this resolution, and explained that if the Episcopal Church does do this, it goes out as a message to LGBT people looking for a church that will bless their lifelong, monogamous, committed relationships.

Here’s what happened to enable me to make that statement:

As soon as same-gender marriages became legal in New York State, Integrity/NYC-Metro got an email from the middle of Texas. A young man wrote pleading for help in finding a church someplace in New York that would accept him and his fiancé, and a priest who would perform a wedding. I pointed out that the Episcopal Church does require pre-marital counseling, and that at least one of the couple must be a baptized Christian. He readily assented to the counseling requirement, and told me that both parties were baptized but not yet Episcopalian. So, after some asking around, I found a priest who agreed to conduct the counseling sessions via Skype.

Several months later, I was pleased to attend their service. They saved every penny possible to finance the flight and several-day stay in Long Island; the Eucharist was simple and beautiful.

After returning to Texas, they found a friendly Episcopal church and were received into our communion. They are still enthusiastic in telling their story of how they were helped by the Episcopal Church to pursue their vocation of marriage.

This couple is now growing in faith and love for each other and for God, and they were drawn to the Episcopal Church by a simple welcome.