Episcopal Church approves gay marriage by new blessings

The Episcopal Church has given green signal for gay marriage through a new Eucharist which allows the bishops and the priests to provide official blessings for same sex or gay marriages. The new rites are to be proposed and approved at the Church’s General Convention this week and will go into effect by the end of this year. The new blessings however do not amount to official marriage of the gay couples within the church as majority of bishops has voted against the measure because of the concerns that it would be taken into account as an approval as such.

The resolution to create a new liturgy for same sex unions was taken during the Church’s 77th General Convocation in Indianapolis on Monday with 111 votes in favor and 41 opposing it. The resolution is known as A049 will now move to the House of Deputies that is made up of both the lay people and clergy. Some of the bishops who spoke against the resolution were worried about the decision that would put the Episcopal Church out of the Christian mainstream.

The resolution was amended by the committee to indicate that “no priest, bishop, deacon, or lay person shall be forced or penalized in any manner nor would suffer any canonical disabilities as a result of his or her scrupulous objection to or support for the 77th General Convention’s action with regard to the Same-Sex Relationships.”

The anti-discrimination provisions that permit the transgendered people to become lay leaders and Church ministers have also got the nod of the House of Bishops. In states such as Maryland, New York the same sex civil marriage is allowed and Episcopalians may already bless the gay couple but there is no formal church wide liturgy. The commitment ceremonies for gay couples are allowed elsewhere in the church at the behest of the local bishop. The U.S. Episcopal Church is affiliated with the world wide Anglican community and has about two million members mostly from the United States and is not the only major U.S. denomination opting for same sex marriage issues.

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