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Gay marriage approved in Washington DC: The Church of England Newspaper, March 12, 2010 p 8. March 25, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Washington.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Washington has authorized his clergy to solemnize gay civil marriages.

“Through the grace of Holy Baptism, there are no second class members of the Body of Christ,” Bishop John Chane said on March 4. “We are of equal value in the eyes of God, and any one of us may be called by the Holy Spirit into holy relationships as well as Holy Orders.”

Bishop Chane’s statement came one day after gay marriages were legalized in the District of Columbia, and follow upon the Episcopal Church’s decision at its July General Convention to end the ban on gay bishops and blessings.

Resolution C056 from the July convention gave bishops “particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal,” the ability to “provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”

No member of the clergy will be compelled to perform gay civil marriages, Bishop Chane said. Nor has a specific liturgy been selected. “I would prefer to work that out in consultation with the clergy who will be performing these services,” he explained.

Under its current Prayer Book the Episcopal Church’s “Order of Marriage” cannot be used for same-sex couples, however, a number of unofficial rites for the blessing of same-sex unions and marriages are in circulation in the United States and Canada. Washington becomes the fourth diocese after Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa to allow its clergy to perform gay marriages.

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