Episcopal Church Authorizes Same-Sex Blessings
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Episcopal Church at its 77th General Convention, meeting in Indianapolis, decided today, by a large majority, to authorize a service for same-sex couples. Starting on December 2, 2012, Episcopal clergy, with the agreement of their bishop, will be able to bless same-sex unions using the provisional liturgy authorized today by the Convention, the Church’s governing body.
Integrity USA has been working for thirty five years towards the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Church. Same-gender unions have been blessed in Episcopal churches all over the country for decades, but this is the first time a church-wide public service has been agreed. It is a milestone in the journey toward achieving full inclusion, and being able to truly declare that “all means all” in the worship life of the denomination. It will enable Integrity to reach out to LGBT persons who have been rejected by the churches they were raised in, as well as those who were raised without any connection to Christianity.
The new blessing liturgy is not a marriage service. It does not use the language of marriage, but emphasizes the lifelong, monogamous, committed nature of the relationship being blessed. Integrity will continue to work for full marriage equality in The Episcopal Church. The president of Integrity, The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall, said “This is a hugely important moment in the history of this church. The Episcopal Church does not have statement of belief other than the ancient creeds. We say that if you want to know what we believe, you can look at the words of our worship. So a liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships brings gay and lesbian couples fully into the life of the Church and proclaims that the Episcopal Church considers that their lives can be holy and blessed by God.”
This permission for same-sex blessings follows the addition of “gender identity and expression” to the non-discrimination laws of The Episcopal Church yesterday. This change makes it unlawful for transgender persons to be excluded from leadership positions, either lay or ordained, based solely on their status as transgender.
For further information, please contact Louise Emerson Brooks, at firstname.lastname@example.org.