Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FAQs About Moving Beyond B033

Part 1 of 3...

Doesn't B033 automatically expire at the start of General Convention 2009?

According to a recent opinion by the Chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies:

A Resolution adopted by one General Convention remains the position of the General Convention until it (1) expires by its own terms, (2) is revoked by a subsequent act of a General Convention, or (3) is superseded by General Convention's adoption of something clearly contrary to the prior enactment even if the prior act is not explicitly revoked. A General Convention cannot bind a future General Convention, a future General Convention can always change what a prior General Convention has done.

Therefore, Resolution B033, since it did not contain language stating when it will expire, remains the position of General Convention until General Convention revokes it, adopts something contrary to it so as to supersede it, or in some way determines that it is contrary to a Church rule of a higher order such as the Constitution or Canons and is therefore null and void or of no effect.

Has B033 actually been a factor in preventing LGBT candidates from being elected to the episcopate?

Absolutely. According to an April 2, 2009 ENS feature:

"The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York has told a newly formed bishop search committee that they are expected to 'honor the mind of the Episcopal Church regarding acceptable candidates for the episcopate as expressed through the General Convention.' The Standing Committee said in a posting on the diocese's bishop search website that the requirement referred to Resolution B033, passed by the Episcopal Church's General Convention in June 2006."

Until we move beyond B033, qualified candidates for the episcopate who are LGBT are being prevented from even being considered, much less elected.

There are a lot of resolutions about B033— which one does Integrity favor?

The one that will pass.

At this point, as with every General Convention, a variety of resolutions have been submitted with different approaches to the same goal: moving beyond B033. What is important is that General Convention 2009 acknowledges we have outlived “the season” we were told we needed B033 for and that we need to enforce our nondiscrimination canons when it comes to ordination.

We’ll be tracking legislation as it moves through committee and making decisions with our allies "on the ground" in Anaheim about what our legislative strategy is based on how those resolutions come forward to the floor.

My bishop says that the House Bishops won't rescind B033, so isn't working to move beyond it seems a waste of effort?

The resolutions regarding B033 will be starting in the House of Deputies so we are looking for "the senior house" to take the lead on this issue – which is usually how progress on social justice issues have happened in the Episcopal Church throughout the decades. If Integrity and our allies had waited for the House of Bishops to say they were ready to move forward on LGBT inclusion we would never have gotten started. It’s taken us 33 years to get this far and no effort to continue to move the church forward is wasted.

No comments: