US church to bless gay marriage

2012-07-10 13:57

Indianapolis - The US Episcopal Church is poised to become the first major religious denomination in the US to approve a rite for blessing gay marriages after its bishops overwhelmingly approved such a liturgy on Monday.

The proposed blessing was agreed by the church's Chamber of Bishops at a meeting in Indianapolis and is expected to receive final approval from its House of Deputies later this week, said Ruth Meyers, a chair of the Episcopalians' Subcommittee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music.

The decision would go into effect in December and make the Episcopal Church, an independent US-based institution affiliated with global Anglicanism, the biggest US church to allow a liturgy for same-sex marriages.

The Episcopal Church is the 14th-largest denomination in the US with nearly two million adherents, according to the National Council of Churches.

The United Church of Christ, a mainstream Protestant denomination with about a million members, has gone further so far than any other US church, voting in 2005 to support same sex marriage.


The new Episcopal same-sex liturgy, called "the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant", would be a standard rite for same-sex marriage.

For the past three years, bishops have been able approve requests for the blessing of same-sex marriages and Jeffrey Lee, the Bishop of Chicago, said he had authorised such ceremonies using an earlier version of the liturgy.

Resistance to similar measures in the past has been strongest among bishops, but Monday's vote was 111 in favour to 41 opposed with three abstentions.

The convention also approved inclusion of transgender people among those who should not be discriminated against, either for ordination or as lay leaders.

"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.

The Episcopal Church allowed gay priests 16 years ago and approved its first openly gay bishop nine years ago.

The decision by the bishops is the latest in a string of victories for gay-rights advocates in the US. Gay marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia.

The legislatures of three states - New Jersey, Maryland and Washington state - approved gay marriage this year, although New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed it. Governors in the other two states signed the legislation but there are efforts to block it by referendum.

US President Barack Obama endorsed gay marriage in May.

On Friday, the Presbyterian Church, the 10th-ranked US denomination, narrowly rejected a proposal to redefine marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The global Anglican Communion groups independent national churches, which develop their own rules for ordination and other matters pertaining to membership and conduct.

  • Eric Mdudus Shaku - 2012-07-10 14:46

    This church does nt belong to God.why sodom and gomora was burnt?coz of gays nd lesbians

      Pulverturm - 2012-07-10 14:52

      You're right... nothing can belong to somebody who doesn't exist ;-) And now I quote from a little book I gain some of my inspiration from - LOTR: Boromir: [holding the ring after Frodo has lost it] "It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing."

      Eric Mdudus Shaku - 2012-07-10 15:29

      Pulverturm,if u say God doesnt exist in your words then there is no what we call a sin and those who commit murder ,rape,theft,fraud,abuse they are doing right because this world turn to survival of fittest and so why should we have jails?

      zaatheist - 2012-07-10 15:43

      When some religious people want to use ancient texts to justify acting upon their prejudices, citing the book of Leviticus suits them just fine. On the other hand, when such people want to indulge in practices prohibited by those same ancient texts, ignoring the bible suits them just fine. For example, Leviticus. Particularly the bit about no tattoos. It's amusing stuff. I frequently wonder why, among the many rules and prescriptions therein, Christians don't sacrifice oxen or go to the "priest" to be inspected for "white marks". It's all there, right next to the warning regarding the abomination of homosexuality

      Marius - 2012-07-10 17:37

      @ Eric - Murder, rape,theft,fraud,abuse you mentioned are all examples of breaking the LAW not because of the bible/god. Police do not arrest one for murder, rape etc. because the bible says so, but because of what the law says ... *sigh*

  • storm.trooper.125 - 2012-07-10 14:50

    ADAM & STEVE!!!

      zaatheist - 2012-07-10 15:46

      Just as apartheid discriminated against people based on something (the colour of their skin) which they couldn't change, gays are now being discriminated against based on something (their sexual orientation) they can't change, - Reverend Peter Storey, bishop of the Methodist church, South Africa

      Irene - 2012-07-10 18:31

      @Storm.trooper ~ Try being original next time pal.

      storm.trooper.125 - 2012-07-11 10:41

      Irene..ADAM & STEVE

  • Pulverturm - 2012-07-10 14:56

    Can't say I really care. I don't need anyone to affirm my relationship.

  • Paco - 2012-07-10 15:08

    once again proof that Christianity is a joke and a religion to suit the masses

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-07-10 15:18

    And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

  • zaatheist - 2012-07-10 15:48

    A welcome step from a Church that is dragging itself in to the 21st century. “Nothing optional—from homosexuality to adultery—is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear, the policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.” -- Christopher Hitchens

      phoenix.px.5 - 2012-07-10 16:58

      Exactly. Always the same homophobes attracted to articles about anything gay here on news24. Reminds me of a recent study where they found that homophobic men are sexually aroused by gay pr0n. Hmmm....

  • Irene - 2012-07-10 18:32

    Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a doughnut because you're on a diet. Pathetic really!

  • keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-11 11:05

    The episcopal church is the devils church and obama is the Beast of the DEVIL thats why he approved gay marrages.... the beast with the big ears will roam the USA and try to destroy the world but he shall be conquered

      peterjohnjnb - 2012-07-25 13:31

      ag shame.

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