Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Might the Church Lead on Same-Sex Unions?

Something remarkable happened in Atlanta last week. Without fanfare, The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta (that would be basically all the churches from Macon north), adopted a resolution supportive of the Development of Liturgical Rights for Same-Gender Unions. Someone who was present sent me a text message as the measure passed-overwhelmingly and without any discussion or amendment. Remarkable, really. Now, this does not mean that this is a done deal for Episcopalians. As you will see in the full text of the resolution below, this is simply a resolution to request that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church develop such rites:


Development of Liturgical Rites for Same-Gender Unions

Resolved: This 102nd Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta approves the following resolution to the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Anaheim, California, in 2009; and be it further

This council directs the Secretary of Council to transmit the following resolution to the Secretary of the General Convention:

The House of __________ concurring, the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church authorizes the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop appropriate rites for the celebration and blessing of the sacred unions of gay and lesbian persons, taking into account the variety of civil arrangements for such unions available in the regions served by the church; and be it further

Resolved: that such rite or rites shall be presented at the 77th
General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Few would argue with the concept that the church, in particular the black church, was integral to the ultimate progress of the Civil Rights Movement. Now, as gay and lesbian individuals struggle for their civil rights, is it possible that again the church might lead? While some churches are adamantly opposed to such rights and poured money into ballot measures like Prop. 8, and others consider sexual orientation to be a "life style choice" or a condition to be "cured," there are signs that at least some churches will again lead on a civil rights issue. And, if the Episcopal Church does adopt such a liturgy, it raises a very interesting point. Marriage, in the religious sense, is a sacrament. What business does government have telling a church to deny-or to administer for that matter-a sacrament to certain parishioners? This seems to me to be the other side of the civil union/religious union debate.

1 comment:

Dora said...

As an Episcopalian - I hope that we can be an example of love...the kind that is modeled by Jesus and taught in His teachings.

It certainly is a very energized topic and discussion.

Honoring a sacrement in a church or a worship service (which is what a wedding actually is) is a far cry from having legal rights through the courts. I witness so many situations where gays are robbed of rights that are easily afforded to me and my male spouse and it's just wrong, imo.

I'm secure in what my relationship is as a married female. I'm not threatened by a man/man or woman/woman marraige and I don't see how other's can be either....but I don't understand many things that people think/do.