Episcopal Bishops Approve Same-Sex Blessing Service
By Brittny Drye
Thanks to the acts of ultra-conservative Christian groups and churches, members of the LGBT community often feel that they have to choose between having a place in the church or their identity. That isn’t always the case and the Episcopal Church is making an effort to end discrimination in their house of worship. Under a new policy, a new ceremonial blessing called “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” will be used to include same-sex marriage. The prospective policy was approved by the convention’s House of Bishops, 111-41, on Monday, clearing it for consideration by the House of Deputies and final approval on Tuesday.
“The Christian world is going to understand us as having changed the nature of the sacrament of holy matrimony,” Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana as said. “The Christian world will look at that liturgy world and see vows, and exchange of rings, a pronouncement and a blessing and they will understand that to mean the Episcopal Church has endorsed same-sex marriage and changed a basic Christian doctrine. I do not believe that we are free to do that.”
Three years in the making, the new liturgy has a couple exchanging vows, rings and to be declared “bound to one another in a holy covenant, as long as they both shall live.” It should be noted that the term “marriage” still isn’t used, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
If approved on Tuesday, the Episcopal Church would become the largest U.S. denomination to approve a ceremony blessing same-sex unions.
The policy includes a provision stating clergy members who object cannot be forced to perform it, nor disciplined for refusing.
“Today the Episcopal Church affirmed the human dignity of a deeply stigmatized population that is far too often victim to discrimination, bullying and abuse,” the Reverend Lowell Grisham, a leader of the Chicago Consultation, a group that supports equality, said in a statement.
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