Saturday, June 25, 2011

Integrity Leaders and Bishops React to ME in NY

Chap James Day, an Integrity Provincial Coordinator who lives in NYC reported this last night from the streets just moments after news of the vote was released.................

Michael (his partner)and I were at the historic Stonewall Inn when they read the tallies--already a crowd had formed outside in anticipation.  Tears came to my eyes, as I kissed Michael when it passed!  My first instinct was to walk the three blocks to my rector's house and tell her we'd like to set a date--though the crowd when we exited the Stonewall Inn prevented it--tons and tons of people.  THE WHOLE community was there.  Here we all stood singing Alicia Keys' New York. with folks in Christopher Park and on lightposts and fences--cameras flashing.  There was a police presence as well--directing traffic around the crowd, smiling--and with their LGBT liaisons present and walking through the crowds cheering.  This was a street party that begins what will surely be the best NYC Pride yet--all at the Stonewall Inn where it all began--yet many miles further ahead.
Paul J. Lane, A Diocesan Organizer wrote this today.....
As Diocesan Organizer for Integrity USA in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, I can do nought but congratulate those politicians and especially those activists who have made Marriage Equality a reality in New York State. I am proud to represent a diocese that stood up for equality in civil marriage by an overwhelming majority at convention several years ago.

A special thanks must go out to Michael Sabatino and his husband, Robert Vooheis, two members of Zion Episcopal Church in Dobbs Ferry. They have worked tirelessly with MENY in order that this day should come.

Join us at the Pride March. Sunday, 26th June. Meet on 37th Street between 5th and Madison between 12:30 and 1:00pm. We really have something to celebrate..

Mary O' Shaughnessy, an Integrity Chapter Convenor also from NYC said......

"As people of faith we rejoice as our laity and our clergy can now witness to the sacramental love of two people in the eyes of the church and judicially in the eyes of the law.

"Integrity NY Metro is grateful for the immediate and joyful reponse of Bishop Sisk of the Diocese of New York and Bishop Provenzano of the Diocese of Long Island."

Here is the statement from Bishop Mark Sisk, Diocese of New York

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was with thanksgiving and joy that I received the news of the New York State legislature’s affirmative action on the Marriage Equality legislation that it had been debating with such intensity.

The legislation, as enacted, appears to be closely aligned with the long standing views of this Diocese that the civil rights of all people should be respected equally before the law. In terms of the issue of marriage rights for gay and lesbian people that position was made most explicit in the resolution enacted at our 2009 Diocesan Convention.

The legislature’s action in broadening the definition of marriage to include same sex unions has to do with civil law, as it properly should. It does not determine Church teaching about the nature of sacraments. That is our continuing work. However, nothing in the unfinished nature of that work should cause us to hesitate to give our most profound thanks for the step that has been taken in affording equal civil rights for our brothers and sisters.

Faithfully yours,

Here is the statement from Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano, Diocese of Long Island

"Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?"

These words taken from the promises in the Baptismal liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer can be prayed more clearly today as the Gay and Lesbian community and all of New Yorkers begin to live into the reality and joy that same gender marriage is now law in New York. To the many LGBT members of the diocese I celebrate this day with you, your loved ones and families. Today the New York Senate has helped us all move yet closer to living the reality that there are no outcasts in the church. The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island will engage this new law with a generous and open response allowing, under the provision of our General Convention, the use of rites for same gender marriage by priests of this diocese who believe they are called to preside at the exchange of vows, once the law has taken effect in 30 days.
Respecting the dignity of every human being will also be lived out in our continued care for those who do not celebrate this milestone in the lives of God's people. Respecting the dignity of every human being includes those who feel a sense of loss and anger. The love and charity of Jesus Christ proclaimed in the gospels does not have winners and losers. We are all God's people, redeemed and sanctified by the enormous love of God made real in Jesus Christ. Let us all move forward in the knowledge of that love and charity and more fully live into the reality of being the Body of Christ.

Here is the statement of Bishop Prince Singh, Diocese of Rochester

First, I want to celebrate the fact that our leaders in Albany have demonstrated their affirmation of the human rights of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons. This is a good day for New York and I am profoundly proud to be a New Yorker, an American and a follower of Christ.

Second, as a leader in the Church it is significant to celebrate what our baptismal identity affirms as God given: the human dignity of a community that has been overtly and covertly ostracized and often treated as less than others. Equal Marriage Act gives faith traditions like mine the ability to transparently enrich the definition of marriage. We will use the lenses of human dignity and loving kindness to live into a new normal where all adult lifelong-loving-commitments are treated as they should be: Holy.

Third, I want to assure members of my Diocese that no priest will be forced to bless the civil marriage of the LGBT parishioners. We already practice a provision in our polity that does not mandate a priest to officiate in the marriage of a heterosexual couple for any reason. I will be setting up a task force in our Diocese to help us chart our course to engage this journey reverently, deliberately and in congruence with Church Law.

I pray that the all New Yorkers, those who support and those who oppose this Act, will celebrate the fact that the human rights of a community have been affirmed by the state. Since no one is free until everyone is free, Marriage Equality takes us closer to our pursuit of a more wholesome society.

Past Integrity President, The Rev. Michael Hopkins published this statement today

It will come as no surprise that I am thrilled by last night's vote and the swift action of the governor to sign the Equal Marriage Act. As a native New Yorker who is gay, this is beyond anything I thought I would ever see in my lifetime. To think that in 30 days John and I will be without a doubt legally married in this state (having been married last year in Canada) is indescribable. I keep remembering being a teenager endlessly wrestling about my sense of self in despair. To think we are closer to a day when that will no longer have to happen (at least no more than it does for any teenager) takes my breath away.

I am struck by the loud cries over the past few days and weeks about the state "redefining" marriage, this, of course, largely from religious leaders. A statement from the Roman Catholic bishops in New York last night decried that the state government had changed “radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage.” That is, frankly, just so much rhetoric. The "understanding" of marriage has been evolving from the beginning, the chief record of which is the Bible itself. Search for a single "definition" of marriage in the biblical record and you will search in vain. You will find various understandings at various times and in various cultural settings, including Jesus' own. The church has even chosen over time not to follow Jesus' understanding, allowing for divorce (or that Roman Catholic divorce-by-another-name, annulment) in virtually every circumstance. One could argue that allowing for divorce changed the "understanding" or "definition" of marriage far more than allowing the partners to be of the same gender.

The church's job, in "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit," is constantly to be the agent of the new thing the prophets taught us God is always doing. That means "redefinition" is in our portfolio. It's the business we are in.

Read the rest here.

Send us your thoughts on the impact of Marriage equality in New York State, We would love to hear from you.


Neil Houghton said...

Wonderful statements from all. Best Bishop's response goes to The Rt. Rev. Provenzano!

Rich Angelo said...

Many Episcopalians in the Diocese of Albany are greeting this news of Marriage Equality with joy and praise; those of us who are part of Integrity do so as well. And yet, there are many here in the Diocese ,including our Bishop Love ( ironic??) most likely will greet it with dismay and sadness. The Diocese of Albany continues as one of the few in The Episcopal Church where LGBT persons are not treated fairly, welcomed to be ordained as openly lgbt people or are even given the ability to be part of the Diocese's life outside of several parishes which are gratefuly welcoming and inclusive. We need your continuing prayers.
Rich Angelo
Diocesan Coordinator for Integrity