Jun 9, 2011

US California Anglican Bishop ends ban on blessing of same-sex couples.

Nice bit of news from the Guardian today:

US bishop ends ban on blessing of same-sex couples

Gay marriage still unauthorised but California bishop gives support to same-gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships and relationships.

A bishop in the US Episcopal church has authorised the use of blessings for same-sex couples, breaking a ban on one of the most divisive issues affecting the Anglican communion.

Chester Talton, from the diocese of San Joaquin, in California, has told clergy they may perform blessings of "same-gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterised by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect [and] careful, honest communication".

The US state recognises domestic partnerships between gay and heterosexual couples as long as one or both of the people involved is 62 or older. Same-sex marriages were also legal for a short while in the state.

A statement from the diocese said: "We must also recognise there are same-gender couples in relationships who have not entered in domestic partnerships, perceiving them to be inferior to marriage and who, for various reasons, did not or could not marry during the brief time when same gender marriages were legal.

"Couples in such relationships are part of the diocese of San Joaquin. They are in our congregations and in positions of leadership. They are our friends, neighbours and brothers and sisters in Christ. It is now time, to the extent permitted by California law and the canons of the Episcopal church, to extend to these couples the generous pastoral response necessary to meet their needs as members of this church."

Talton's authorisation states that no diocesan priest may perform a gay marriage until both sets of laws, and the diocesan bishop, allow it and that no priest is required to bless same-gender relationships.
His decision follows years of discussion in the US on how to be more inclusive towards homosexual parishioners and clergy, a direction that has angered conservative evangelicals.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has frequently voiced his opposition to moves allowing the consecration of lesbian and gay bishops and same-sex blessings – two of the three temporary bans in place designed, supposedly, to keep the disparate communion provinces together until a more permanent solution to disagreements is found.


Terence Weldon said...

Nice bit of news indeed, Jayden. Thanks for getting on to it so fast.

My take on this is that progress to full inclusion in church is now taking on substantial momentum - this is just one example of many, in different denominations, in different regions of the world, and in different forms.

Sadly though, I don't expect to see a lesbian pope any time soon.

FDeF said...

I got excited until I read the words "Episcopal Bishop". Nice but not earth shattering as it would be for a Catholic Bishop.

Jayden Cameron said...

Yes, as usual the Anglicans (Episcopalians in the US) lead the way when it comes to perfectly ordinary decency, common sense, and basic Christian charity towards LGBT people in the church and the poor 'Catholic' bishops are still holding up the rear and keeping us in the back of the bus, if even that. Change will come but lets hope it doesn't take as long as the election of a lesbian pope! Actually that's quite a lovely (funny) earth shattering thought.