FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANAHEIM, CA (July 12, 2009)--In a special session today, the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church approved a resolution, 151 to 66, which effectively overrides the three-year ban on gay bishops within the church. The gently-worded resolution, DO25, affirms Episcopal membership in the Anglican Communion while declaring that all orders of ministry, including the episcopate, are open to the LGBT baptized of the church. The resolution now goes to the House of Bishops where it is not expected to receive an overly warm reception.
"We were reminded today of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent words to us that 'there is no unity without truth.' Today the clergy and laity of The Episcopal Church voted for both truth and unity by a wide margin," said The Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity USA.
DO25 is the first resolution the House of Deputies has considered regarding the consecration of LGBT bishops within the Episcopal Church since the last general convention in 2006. At that gathering in Columbus, OH, in the waning hours of the 10-day event, then-Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold pressured both governing bodies of the church to pass resolution BO33 which placed a moratorium on the consecration of additional gay bishops and on same-gender blessings. The action was in response to the election in 2003 of The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.
Anglican bishops, primarily in Africa and South America, were outraged over Bishop Robinson's consecration and threatened the Episcopal Church's continued membership in the Anglican Communion. BO33 was an attempt to mollify that outrage, but caused problems at home with the LGBT faithful and their supporters. At this year's convention, numerous resolutions have been proposed to rectify or revoke BO33 and LGBT issues have garnered more attention than any other matter before the legislative body.
"We call on our bishops to affirm that we are a church ready to move forward in mission and ministry by joining the deputies and concurring with this vote," Russell said.
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