Thursday, October 16, 2008

Area clergy of mixed minds on gay marriage

New Haven Register
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 9:56 AM EDT
By Ed Stannard, Register Metro Editor

The views among clergy about marrying gay and lesbian couples is no more uniform than the churches they serve.

After last week's 4-3 state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Connecticut, some ministers say they'll be happy to perform a wedding for two men or two women, while others won't consider it.


Bishop Andrew D. Smith, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, said priests in the diocese could not perform same-sex weddings because marriage is defined in the Book of Common Prayer as "a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God."

"For us to change that practice in terms of having clergy officiate at gay or lesbian marriages, we have to change the prayer book," which is authoritative for Episcopalians, Smith said. It cannot be changed without the approval of two national conventions.

Smith has allowed priests to bless civil unions if the parish's vestry, its governing board, approves, but said he was not ready to take a position on whether marriages between gays or lesbians could also be blessed.


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