Thursday, 16 July 2009

Episcopal bishops OK prayer for gay couples

Episcopal bishops authorized the church Wednesday to start drafting an official prayer for same-sex couples, another step toward acceptance of gay relationships that will deepen the rift between the denomination and its fellow Anglicans overseas.

The bishops voted 104-30 at the Episcopal General Convention to "collect and develop theological resources and liturgies" for blessing same-gender relationships, which would be considered at the next national meeting in 2012.

The resolution notes the growing number of states that allow gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and gave bishops in those regions discretion to provide a "generous pastoral response" to couples in local parishes.

Many Episcopal dioceses already allow clergy to bless same-sex couples but there is no official liturgy for the ceremonies in the denomination's Book of Prayer. The measure still needs the approval of the lay people and priest delegates at the assembly, which ends Friday.

"We certainly feel a deep need to be able to proclaim the love of God in the midst of a changing reality," said Suffragan Bishop James Curry of the Diocese of Connecticut, one of six states that are legalizing same-gender marriage. Read more
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