New Zealand and US churches to vote on gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, July 15, 2012. July 15, 2012Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: gay marriage, same-sex blessings
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA are set to debate resolutions authorizing rites for the blessing of gay marriages at their respective meetings this week.
Meeting in Fiji the 160 bishops and delegates to the ANZP synod will review three motions on gay marriage, gay liturgies and diocesan autonomy. Motion 20 brought by members of the Diocese of Waiapu entitled “Episcopal autonomy in discernment for ordination” asks the church to permit local dioceses to set their own standards for ordination.
The diocese was concerned that there had been pressure to “withhold discernment for ordination because of a person’s sexual orientation and the living out of their orientation.” The motion asked that dioceses be permitted to decide the worthiness of potential ministers, allowing a local option for gay clergy.
Delegates from Waiapu also put forward Motion 21 asking the synod to “move forward with the provision of an authorized rite for the blessing of same-gender relationship” as well. Passage of the two motions is uncertain, observers of the proceedings tell The Church of England Newspaper.
The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is reviewing a series of resolutions on gay marriage. While the debate in committee has been spirited, the weight of opinion within the convention appears to favor authorization of trial rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
On 6 July the House of Bishops rejected a proposal brought by the Diocese of Maryland to begin the six year process for revising the Book of Common Prayer to create gender neutral marriage rites. While Bishop Mary Glasspool of Los Angeles urged the church to move ahead, the bishops gave their backing to a resolution that calls for a task force to study the theology of marriage and report back in 2015.
However, the principle vehicle to introduce same-sex unions for the Episcopal Church at the 77th General Convention meeting 5-12 July in Indianapolis is Resolution A049 “Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.”
A vote on the resolution is scheduled for later this week. While A049 is likely to garner a majority of votes in the two Houses of General Convention – bishops and deputies – it is not likely to be approved. While a revision to the marriage liturgy in the Prayer Book requires support by two successive meetings of General Convention by both bishops and deputies, a trial rite can be passed at one meeting. However, the rules governing resolutions proposing the adoption of trial rites have special terms. In the House of Bishops a majority of all bishops entitled to vote – both serving and retired – must endorse the measure. Those bishops not present at the meeting must still be counted in calculating what constitutes a majority.
With approximately 305 members, A049 must secure 153 votes in the House of Bishops to be adopted. As of 7 July 2012, 167 bishops were present at the 77th General Convention, meaning 15 bishops voting against the measure can block implementation of trial rites for the blessing of same-sex marriage.