While there have been many on both sides of this battle, two progressives who deserve to be singled out are Muffie Moroney and The Rev. Jim Stockton. Both Moroney and Rev. Stockton can be described as tenaciously loyal to the ideal of justice and to the church that they love and serve. In the end it was current Bishop C Andrew Doyle who forged a new unity - a unity that will allow the diocese to finally put divisions on marriage and LGBTQ rights behind us as we are given the opportunity to move into mission without bringing along nearly two decades of harmful political baggage. Ultimately, this vote was more about mission and less about marriage.
There are several key points that highlight the effect of this council action.
1. This restructuring and reordering of the canons, treats all marriages equally. No longer will married LGBTQ clergy be automatically disqualified from serving in this diocese.
2. Parishes will be able to call the priests of their own choosing. Hiring can now be based on a person's abilities, skill and job performance.
3. The responsibility for moral discipline as it pertains to the breaking of the marriage vows within the ranks of the clergy is returned to the office of the bishop.
Even more wide sweeping than these direct effects, this council action changes the political tone for councils yet to convene. No more will there be a need to strategize, plot, and plan how one side will win against the other. Months of gathering support on either side will cease. No more political posturing over the sexual mores of an entire diocese.
This action also signals to every LGBTQ Christian that they indeed have a home in the Episcopal Church. The opportunities to serve Christ are open to all without limitations.
The road forward may be rocky but Episcopalians throughout the Diocese can hold fast to the idea of being unified in mission as they seek to engage the communities in which they serve.
S Wayne Mathis
VP of Local Affairs Integrity USA
Co Convener Integrity Houston