Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Legislative Update: Day 6

On Monday June 29, the fifth legislative day of the 78th General Convention, the House of Bishops adopted (by an overwhelming majority) two resolutions moving us closer to ending discrimination against same-sex couples desiring to be married in the Episcopal Church.

The first (A054) adopted two new marriage liturgies for trial use and the second (A036) included a canonical change to remove references to marriage as being between a man and a woman. The resolutions now move to the House of Deputies for approval. They will be heard as part of a special order of business on Wednesday, July 1st at 11:30 a.m.

These resolutions have been carefully and prayerfully crafted to provide as wide a tent as possible for the broad diversity of perspectives that is the hallmark of our heritage as Anglicans whilst making what the Supreme Court ruled last week as a “fundamental right” for all Americans equally available for all Episcopalians.

While the resolution stipulates: “Trial use is only to be available under the discretion and with the permission of the diocesan bishop” it also stipulates “Bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority or, where appropriate, ecclesiastical supervision, will make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have access to these liturgies.” This compromise creates a “bridge too far” for some and a “bridge not far enough” for others.

We are hopeful that both A054 and A036 will be quickly concurred – without amendment -- by the House of Deputies so that we can then shift into implementation throughout the Church.

Integrity will partner with members, allies and bishops to make sure that “will make provision for all couples asking to be married” is a reality – not just a resolution. And we look forward to celebrating with great joy the marriages throughout the church that will be outward and visible signs of the inward and spiritual grace of present in the lives of same-sex couples called to the vocation of marriage.

Marriage equality is not the only issue on the floor at this 78th General Convention. Resolution D028 -- "Oppose Conversion Therapy" -- was today concurred by the House of Bishops ... putting the Episcopal Church on record supporting legislation banning conversion therapy that tries "to change a person's sexual orientation or force them to deny their gender identity."

A051 -- Supporting LGBT African Advocacy -- has made it through Deputies and is headed to Bishops along with D036 -- Adding Name Change Services to the Book of Occasional Services.

More to come. (Watch this space!)

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