Episcopal Church Approves Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships
(photo courtesy of Episcopal News Service)
The Episcopal church will now allow the blessing of same-sex relationships after a vote approving such services Tuesday.
The church's House of Deputies approved the proposal at the church's General Convention in Indianapolis. The proposal passed through the House of Bishops on Monday. The proposal allows the use of the liturgy, known as "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant" beginning on December 2, which is the first Sunday of Advent.
Reverand Ruth Myers, deputy of the diocese of Chicago, introduced the proposal and said in a press briefing after the ruling that the liturgy "is a service of blessing for same-sex couples who are in lifelong, faithful, monogamous, committed relationships."
Clergy will not be forced to provide the blessing services. The decision will be up to the bishops to allow the ceremonies in a local diocese.
The Episcopal Church elected its first openly gay bishop in 2003. With this announcement, the church becomes the largest U.S. denomination to approve the blessing of same-sex relationships.