Monday, July 13, 2009

Blessing the unions/marriages of same gender couples. (CO56)

The Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee have put together a resolution. This will be going first to the House of Bishops (we don't know when). Here's the revised text together with Bishop Parsley's minority statement.

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops Theology Committee, collect and develop theological resources and liturgies of blessing for same-gender holy unions, to be presented to the 77th General Convention for formal consideration, and be it further

Resolved, that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops Theology Committee, devise an open process for the conduct of its work in this matter, inviting participation from dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are or have already engaged in the study or design of such rites throughout the Anglican Communion, and be it further

Resolved, that all bishops, noting particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

Resolved, that honoring the theological diversity of this Church, no bishop or other member of the clergy shall be compelled to authorize or officiate at such liturgies, and be it further

Resolved, that the Anglican Consultative Council be invited to conversation regarding this resolution and the work that proceeds from it, together with other churches in the Anglican Communion engaged in similar processes.


Minority report from Bishop Henry N. Parsley:

I offer the minority opinion that in the 3rd resolve the substitute should read, "Resolved , that in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same gender marriage or civil unions are legal, the bishop may provide a generous pastoral response to meet the needs of the members of this church."

Explanation:

This language focuses on the six states where same gender marriage or civil unions are legal which I believe to be our correct focus at this time.


+ Henry Parsley, 7/13/09

Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA

6 comments:

Dennis said...

actually, bishop, if one adds the number of states where same gender marriage AND civil unions are legal the number is greater than six. California, for example, may not currently have marriages but it has civil unions.

And I note that you have omitted domestic partnership. In the State of Washington domestic partnership is the term used for the state recognized registered union with all of the state rights accorded to marriage. Why omit domestic partnership as a term?

IT said...

Also remember that there ARE married gay people in CA , the 18,000 couples from the interregnum.

I and my wife are one of them.

Kimberley said...

In CA they are not civil unions but domestic partnerships, and as someone else noted, many of us are legally married in CA. I would love to have our union blessed by our Church, which would indeed do so if allowed by the national Church.

Greg said...

Yeah, it would seem that the confusion of legal definitions and instability that has resulted from the mercurial back-and-forth between legislatures and courts in certain states leaves the church with a lot of holes to fill in. Is the church dependent on the state for its sacraments? Or just rightly cooperative with the state when the state fulfils its proper role in human affairs? If the church is right in blessing gay marriages, then it should do so, regardless of the speed with which the state recognizes such. That way the church rightly takes the initiative & becomes a teacher for the society as a whole. The Church of England, because it is the product of the Tudor Reformation, is legally subservient to the state. I think in the U.S., the Episcopal Church ought to reclaim a more ancient tradition of ecclesial autonomy. The C of E can catch up on its own time.

BJ said...

All the more reason for there to be true separation of church and state -- the church needs to get out of the civil marriage business!

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