There’s good news for LGBTQ folks who belong to the Episcopal Church.
At the Episcopal Church’s General Convention last week, a triennial event, the Church’s House of Bishops and House of Deputies approved resolution B012, which will allow gay and lesbian couples to be married in their home parish even if their local bishop has moral objections to gay marriage.
At the Church’s 2015 convention, gender-neutral marriage rites were approved for use in same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed by clergy who were willing to participate. But, bishops were still allowed to forbid such ceremonies in their diocese if they disapproved.
Under the new resolution, which goes into effect in December, when a same-sex couple wishes to marry in a diocese where the same-sex marriage is not condoned, the priest who has agreed to conduct the ceremony will be allowed to reach out to an Episcopal bishop in another diocese who can step in and provide pastoral support for the couple.
To be clear, though: no priest can be forced to perform any marriage ceremony they do not wish to be a part of.
The majority of convention attendees agreed with the solution.
One priest said, “For 40 years our LGBT brothers and sisters have been at the back of the bus and, every so often, they are invited to move forward one row at a time.”
Another delegate who is a longtime pro-LGBT leader said she supported the resolution “recognizing that this is a hard-won compromise but one which I believe will lead us forward into that work as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”
The chairman of the General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, “implored deputies to complete convention’s actions on marriage. ‘We are fond of saying around the Episcopal Church that all are welcome, and all means all, y’all,’” according to an Episcopal News Service report.
According to the Episcopal Church website, the 8 bishops who did not condone same-sex marriages were: Albany Bishop William Love, Central Florida Bishop Greg Brewer, Dallas Bishop George Sumner, Florida Bishop John Howard, North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, Springfield Bishop Dan Martins, Tennessee’s Bauerschmidt and U.S. Virgin Islands Bishop Ambrose Gumbs.