Episcopal Church approves rites for same-sex unionsAround the Nation, Bottom Highlights Thursday, July 19th, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS – The Episcopal Church has approved a new liturgy for blessing same-sex unions, two proposals adding gender identity and expression to the Church’s nondiscrimination canons for ordained ministry and in the “life, worship, and governance of the Church,” and a resolution supporting legislation for equal immigration rights for same-sex couples. The votes took place at the recent denomination’s General Convention in Indianapolis. While the passage signifies a step in the right direction, the canons of the Church still use the definition of “marriage” as between a man and a woman.
The blessing is called The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant, and includes prayers and vows. The liturgy includes “I do” and an exchange of rings. Notably absent are the words “husband,” “wife” and “marriage.”
“While the liturgy we have developed is not called ‘marriage,’ we recognize significant parallels,” the committee wrote in its handbook on blessing same-sex marriages called, I Bless You, And You Will Be a Blessing. “Two people publicly make a lifelong, monogamous commitment to one another with the exchange of solemn vows in a ritual that pronounces God’s blessing on their life together.”
“This is a great day for the Episcopal Church and people of faith everywhere,” said Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, deputy director of Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Religion and Faith Program. “Today, the Church reaffirmed to LGBT Episcopalians they are also God’s children and they deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion.”
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