Press Release: Salt Lake City, UT - July 2, 2015
Integrity USA celebrated the passing of two significant pieces of legislation at the General Convention of The Episcopal Church on June 30, 2015. The House of Deputies voted to concur with the House of Bishops to pass Resolution A054 (87% yes, 11% no, 2% divided), a measure to offer gender neutral marriage rites and urge bishops to provide ways for couples to get married when in dioceses or churches with marriage equality restrictions. Later, the House voted to concur to pass Resolution A036 (82% yes, 13% no, 5% divided), a measure to alter the church canon.
Both these measures passed within days of the Supreme Court decision to recognize marriage equality throughout the USA.
Integrity President Matt Haines said, "I am overjoyed that our relationships and marriages as same-sex couples are finally recognized by both church and state. The Episcopal Church spoke to this justice overwhelmingly, beyond our expectations, affirming the equality of our love. Integrity has joined with allies for 40 years, proclaiming the blessing and holiness of our lives, which we offer to the church. We celebrate God's grace!"
Haines, recognizing that there are still faithful Episcopalians who live and engage in ministry in dioceses where their bishops will not permit full marriage equality, said that the Board of Directors will continue to work on making the rites available to everyone. Rev. Jon M. Richardson, Integrity Vice-President of National Affairs, pointed out, "While we are overjoyed at the strides we've made toward having all of our marriages recognized and blessed in the Episcopal Church, we are also acutely aware of the reality that this does not mean that the work of striving for equality is now finished in the Episcopal Church or in our society at large. LGBTQ people remain particularly vulnerable to discrimination in employment and in housing in many places in the country. LGBTQ teens remain significantly more likely than their heterosexual peers to be homeless, to commit suicide, or to endure the humiliations associated with bullying. Transgender people continue to face threats to their very survival each time they go out in public. The church continues to have a responsibility to speak to these injustices and to be agents of change, not just within our own halls, but in the hearts and minds of all people whom we encounter. We have taken great strides, but there remain many miles to go."
"In this spirit," Haines added, "we must continue to seek out those on the margins and join them as they too seek the love and support of the Episcopal Church. We are obligated to work hard until all in this church and the world it serves are open to the grace and beauty of God's creation of humanity. We are all one body in Christ Jesus, we must never forget our interdependence."