Since the law of the land was changed last Friday, many of us were asking what next and if there does need to be a next in the fight for equal marriage. Yes, we all knew that this and that podunk county in this red state will drag their feet, but who knew the next big news would come in the form of another large positive and from a church. Thanks go out to the Episcopal Church for realizing once again that love is love in the eyes of the government and in the eyes of God.
The denomination's landmark vote, at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, came 12 years after the church made history by electing its first openly gay bishop.
Same-sex weddings will be allowed after Nov. 1. But in a compromise with conservatives, clergy can refuse to perform same-sex services and bishops can prohibit the ceremonies in their diocese, The Washington Post reports.
Among the changes to church laws on marriage, gender-specific language will be dropped. "Husband" and "wife" will be replaced with "the couple."
"But don't expect sweeping changes across the entire denomination anytime soon," George Conger, an Episcopal priest who has written about church issues for two decades, wrote in the Post. He said the changes "likely won't take place in more conservative parts of the church, like Dallas, Albany and Orlando." – USAToday.com
So was it any surprise that the Episcopal Church would go this way? Possibly. To have a church system as a whole vote with such a strong voice to allow marriage equality to occur within their walls and have the vote come so quickly will just keep our feeling of joy flowing.
The changes were approved 173-27. The convention also approved a gender-neutral prayer service for marriage on a 184-23 vote. The measures take effect the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29 (other source said Nov 1).
Many dioceses in the New York-based church of nearly 1.9 million members have allowed their priests to perform civil same-sex weddings, using a trial prayer service to bless the couple. Still, the church hadn’t changed its own laws on marriage until Wednesday. – lgbtqnation.com
We thank the Episcopal Church for making their stance known nationally. There are other churches that allow gay marriage and their populations are plentiful. They as well have similar laws that allow churches / congregations to decide on their own if same sex ceremonies will occur.
The Episcopal Church joins two other mainline Protestant groups that allow gay marriage in all their congregations: the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The 3.8-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lets its congregations decide for themselves, and many of them host gay weddings.
The United Methodist Church, by far the largest mainline Protestant church with 12.8 million members, bars gay marriage, although many of its clergy have been officiating at same-sex weddings recently in protest.
The Episcopal Church is the U.S. wing of the Anglican Communion, an 80 million-member global fellowship of churches. Ties among Anglicans have been strained since Episcopalians in 2003 elected Bishop Gene Robinson, who lived openly with his male partner, to lead the Diocese of New Hampshire. Many theologically conservative Episcopalians either split off or distanced themselves from the national U.S. church after Robinson's election. –huffpost.com
Progress is being made. To allow to decide is better than banning completely. Let's keep our eyes open to see if there will be a 4th church to make the change for the better. My the wave of progress continue!
"We have learned to not only care for, but care about one other," [said the Very Rev. Brian Baker of Sacramento, who chaired the committee that drafted the changes.] "That mutual care was present in the conversations we had. Some people disagreed, some people disagreed deeply, but we prayed and we listened and we came up with compromises that we believe make room and leave no one behind." – usatoday.com