Monday, October 27, 2008

Bishop of Connecticut Comments On Same-Sex Civil Marriage Ruling

An excerpt of the Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith's address to the convention of the
Diocese of Connecticut on October 25th...

"A few words about the implications of the decision of the Connecticut
Supreme Court this month to broaden the State's definition of marriage.
To offer gay and lesbian couples the right to marry is a significant change
which challenges our Church's historic definition of Christian marriage and
poses major questions for our mission and ministry. The Book of Common
Prayer assumes that the State's and the Church's definition of marriage
agree, that they are the same. As of two weeks ago, they no longer do.

"Bishops Ahrens, Curry and I have been looking at three areas of complex
questions arising from the Court's ruling. Are priests ordained in the
Episcopal Church permitted to officiate at civil marriages of gay and
lesbian couples? What standards of commitment should we have for ordained
deacons and priests (or bishops) who are in same-sex relationships? In all
things, how can we be the face of Christ, to invite, welcome and pastorally
care for seekers and believers who are gay and lesbian, including those who
seek to be married?

"I raise these today as questions. And I ask you to think about them with
us. Before there can be policy on these matters, we your bishops plan to
talk with the bishops of other dioceses where the definition of marriage has
been changed. We also want to listen to laity and clergy whose lives are
directly affected by the Court's decision. I have asked my Chancellors to
research the civil and canonical questions. And I have asked the Standing
Committee of the diocese, as the Bishop's Council of Advice, also to engage
these issues. And as we think on these questions it's also necessary to
remember that we are a member diocese of the Anglican Communion.

"In the meantime, the policies I announced last year for civil unions remain
in effect and for now are extended to cover marriage of persons who are in
same sex relationships. Let us hold each other in generous affection and
prayer as we face this change in the historic definition of marriage made by
the decision of the Supreme Court of Connecticut."

Read the entire address at

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