Thursday, July 23, 2009


July 22, 2009

Clergy will not sign state-issued marriage licenses

Lauren Azeltine,

In protest against California's Proposition 8, which amended the state
constitution to state "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or
recognized in California," the Vestry of St. Michael and All Angels
Episcopal Church, Studio City, unanimously voted to approve a resolution in
support of the rights of all people, straight or gay, to legally marry in
the State of California. The clergy of St. Michael's parish will continue
to bless heterosexual, gay, and lesbian marriages, but will not sign
state-issued marriage licenses until all people have the right to marry in
the state of California.

This action was influenced strongly by a visit to St. Michael and All Angles
this spring from V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire. During a
discussion at St. Mike's, Bishop Robinson supported churches getting out of
the civil marriage business and instead performing blessings for all
marriages, same or opposite sex. A similar action was taken by the Vestry of
All Saints Church, Pasadena, California.

The Reverend Canon Dr. Henry Atkins, Priest-in-Charge at St. Michael's, said
"This community strongly believes that both gay and straight couples should
be equally blessed in the sacrament of marriage, and we happily commit
ourselves to doing so. But we will not participate in state-sanctioned
discrimination." He noted that other countries, such as France, also
separate the legal from the religious marriage ceremonies.

"The church is no place for such discrimination," said John Pryor, Junior
Warden of St. Michael's. "A welcoming community holds the door open for all
people," he stated, "we should not be in the business of shutting that

Copies of the resolution are available [below].

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is a welcoming community of
conscience engaged in faith by embracing diversity and encouraging growth
through prayer, scholarship, social action, and artistic endeavor. Located
at 3646 Coldwater Canyon Ave. in Studio City, it is an inclusive community
and welcomes all.


Adopted by the vestry, July 21, 2009

WHEREAS, on November 4, 2008, a majority of the California electorate voted
to approve Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to state
"[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in

WHEREAS, on May 26, 2009, the California Supreme Court voted to uphold the
constitutionality of Proposition 8, a decision which not only deprives
same-sex couples of the fundamental right to marry, but, in the words of
dissenting Justice Carlos Moreno, "places at risk the state constitutional
rights of all disfavored minorities";

WHEREAS, the institution of civil marriage in the State of California is, as
a result of Proposition 8 and the Court's decision, a
constitutionally-mandated instrument of discrimination, which furthers
injustice and denies same-sex couples the fundamental dignities to which
each human being is entitled;

WHEREAS, our active participation in the discriminatory system of civil
marriage is inconsistent with Jesus' call to strive for justice and peace
among all people and respect the dignity of every human being; and

WHEREAS, Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is called to make the
sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, regardless of their
sexual orientation;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry do declare
that the sacramental right of marriage is available to all couples, but that
the clergy of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church will not sign
civil marriage certificates for any marriage so long as the right to marry
is denied to same-sex couples.

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