Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Integrity USA Responds to NY TImes 9/18 Article "Bishops Split on Gay Weddings"

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article titled True to Episcopal Church’s Past, Bishops Split on Gay Weddings by Shaila Dewan which said in part,

The Episcopal Church’s rules define marriage as a “union of a man and a woman” but also say the clergy must “conform to the laws of the state” governing marriage. In 2009, the denomination approved a resolution saying that “bishops, 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.”

But New York State’s bishops differ over just what a “generous pastoral response” means, and even the bishops most supportive of gay rights are struggling to balance their desire to sanctify the relationships of all of their parishioners with their reluctance to further alienate conservative Anglicans in Africa and even the United States.

The bishops of the Long Island and Central New York Dioceses have authorized priests to preside at same-sex weddings; the bishop of the New York Diocese (which includes three of the city’s five boroughs) is allowing them to bless but not officiate at such rites; the bishop of the Albany Diocese is barring any involvement by priests; and the bishops of the Rochester and Western New York Dioceses remain undeclared. Read the entire article here.

This is Integrity USA's response to the Times article.

Integrity USA is gratified to see a thorough and thoughtful feature on the Episcopal Church's response on Marriage Equality in New York in yesterday’s New York Times. It provides an accurate look as to where the Episcopal Church “is” on marriage equality – and it also offers a great illustration of the reality that good people of deep faith can be on different places on their faith journey and still support equal protection of civil marriage for same and opposite gender couples. We hope that will be an encouragement to all who work for equality and especially to those who will be testifying on Capitol Hill tomorrow in the Senate hearings on replacing DOMA with the Respect for Marriage Act.

The debate about marriage equality once dominated by religious bigotry and faith-based homophobia has increasingly been balanced by progressive voices of faith stepping up and speaking out, and Integrity is proud of its 35 year history of  moving the Episcopal Church forward as an opinion leader for equality.

And so on Sunday we’ll be celebrating with New Yorkers as marriage equality becomes a reality in their state and we’ll be organizing to support those working to end marriage discrimination by the federal government and looking ahead to our own General Convention next year in Indianapolis. We continue to be convinced that nothing short of the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments is good enough for Jesus or for us … and we look forward to the Episcopal Church moving closer to that goal when it meets in July 2012.

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