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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Episcopal diocese affirms same-sex marriage.

At a special diocesan convention today, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts affirmed the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruling that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making it the largest mainstream religious body in the state to come out in favor of same-sex civil marriage.

The bishops' letter about the resolution describes the convention debate and acknowledges that the resolution refers only to civil marriage and not to the sacraments of the church:

Todayís discussion was respectful and spirited and reflected the diverse opinions held by Massachusetts Episcopalians on this issue.

Many told personal stories and spoke with emotion in support of the need for securing full civil rights for all of Godís children. Several spoke to what civil marriage would mean to them, to their long-term committed partnerships and to the communities of worship that support them. It was also recognized in the discussion that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and the Book of Common Prayer specify Holy Matrimony as a "physical and spiritual union between a man and a woman." At this time in the life of our church, clergy cannot solemnize Holy Matrimony for people of the same sex. And yet it was noted that it is appropriate that the church speak to matters of importance in our society as it has done throughout its history.

Close observers of the debate over same-sex marriage in Massachusetts will be particularly intrigued to know that Rep. Byron Rushing (a state legislator from Boston and long-time advocate of gay and lesbian rights) was the convention parliamentarian!

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 13 March 2004 at 7:01 PM

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March 15, 2004 08:41 PM | Permalink for this comment

The bishop's explanation seems to clarify most of your earlier concerns regarding the wording of the explanation of the resolution.

"Sacramental inclusivity" was a bit of a red herring. The bishop's final line seems to state, with an economy of words, the primary reason for such a resolution to be considered by a Christian denomination.

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