U.S. Episcopal Church approves blessing of gay unions

INDIANAPOLIS Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:17pm EDT

Two men kiss as they sit in a riverside park in New York, May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Two men kiss as they sit in a riverside park in New York, May 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - The U.S. Episcopal Church on Tuesday approved a liturgy for clergy to use in blessing same-sex unions, including gay marriages in states where they are legal, becoming the largest U.S. religious denomination to approve such a ritual.

Delegates to its triennial convention voted 171-50 to approve the liturgy, titled "the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant." Episcopal bishops had voted overwhelmingly on Monday in favor of the text.

The U.S. Episcopal Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is the 14th largest U.S. religious denomination, with about 2 million members, according to the National Council of Churches.

The proposed blessing will be introduced in early December and will be evaluated over the next three years, according to a church spokeswoman, Nancy Davidge.

The resolution does not mention the word "marriage" and it does not alter the church's standard liturgy for a marriage between a man and a woman, but offers an alternative liturgy for blessing same-sex couples.

The measure also gives bishops of the church discretion in the use of the liturgy and says no one should be punished for choosing not to use it.

Reverend Bonnie Perry of Chicago, who supports marriage between same-sex couples, said she was pleased by the decision. "For me it is a window on the Promised Land. It's not the Promised Land," she said. "The most important part of a marriage is the blessing."

But Steven Horst of Connecticut spoke in opposition, saying the resolution was the wrong way to proceed. Some Episcopalians will say the church endorsed gay marriage even though the word marriage is not mentioned, he said.

The Episcopal Church is the largest religious denomination to approve such blessings. The United Church of Christ, the 24th-ranked denomination in the United States with about a million members, voted in 2005 to recognize same-sex unions.

Two other major Protestant denominations, United Methodists and Presbyterians, rejected gay rights resolutions at their conferences earlier this year.

United Methodists in May voted down a resolution that would have altered a doctrine that said homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

Presbyterians last week narrowly rejected a proposal to redefine marriage as a union between two persons rather than between a man and woman.

But gay rights advocates have scored a string of victories in the United States this year.

President Barack Obama in May announced his support for same-sex marriage.

The legislatures of three states have approved same-sex marriage this year - New Jersey, Maryland and Washington. Governor Chris Christie vetoed the New Jersey law, but governors of the other two states signed the laws. Opponents in Maryland and Washington are pushing for the issue to be put on the ballot in November.

Six states - Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York - and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex marriages.

(Writing by Greg McCune; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (2)
here we go again ! another apostate church , the people of this organized religious doctrine , do not believe in the word of God ! shame on them ! BUT jESUS DID SAY THAT TIMES WILL BE LIKE SODOM AND GOMORAH WHEN HE DOES COME BACK !

HE LEADERS OF THAT GOD FORSAKEN DENOMINATION WILL FACE ETERNAL DAMNATION FOR THEIR ACTIONS !

Jul 10, 2012 10:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jmsmith62 wrote:
In many of these posts, people are trying to justify a choice or action. This we know…God gave us Free Agency, to choose between good and evil. A person has the right to choice wrong, because God will not force you to be obedient. When you follow God’s Law you do so because you love your Father in Heaven and want to return to him. It is the ultimate act of love and trust. It is very similar to a child being obedient to what his loving Parents have asked him / her to do. You know that they love you and want what is best for you, so they set up rules to protect you and keep you out of trouble. Like, you can’t date until a certain age, you can’t drink or stay out all night, etc. Parents understand through experience what things like this can lead to…Failure and unhappiness. We must have Faith that our Savior and Heavenly Father have given us Commandments because they love us and want us to be Eternally happy. To understand this concept, you must know the difference between temporal and eternal happiness (AKA: Short Term and Long Term Happiness). Our Heavenly Father never intended for Men to be with Men or Women to be with Women. The obvious sign of this is that nature shows us that there is no increase in this behavior. God does not hate homosexuals, but the scriptures clearly state that he cannot tolerate the least degree of sin. Which means, when we make a mistake / sin, we must turn away from that sin and repent, if we want to return to our Heavenly Father. Just like our Earthly Parents, He will continue to love us, but the Law is the Law. If your child robs a bank, you still love him / her, but they still have to face the consequences for their actions. This is where the Parental Heart Break comes in…The same as for your Heavenly Father. A parent takes no satisfaction in a child’s failure. In our Hearts we know what is right but when we don’t want to follow it, we try and bend our Heavenly Father’s will, to our desire. It doesn’t work that way. Rather than fight and argue about what you think is right or wrong, prayerfully ask your Heavenly Father. Then do his will, not yours. If you do, I promise, although it may be difficult, you will be eternally happy but your Free Agency is yours to do with what you want.

Jul 11, 2012 7:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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