The Episcopalian Church voted “overwhelmingly” on Wednesday in favor of allowing weddings for same-sex couples in their churches. This further substantiates Christianity’s growing acceptance of gay rights. In fact, about ten years ago, the Episcopalian denomination elected the first bishop who was openly gay.
They voted in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Episcopal General Convention. Ultimately, the House of Bishops approved the notion. The ruling came in 129-26. If that’s not an example of love truly winning, we don’t know what is.
According to the Very Reverend Brian Baker, this ruling was the outcome of a conversation that’s been going on for nearly forty years. The process and change in acceptance has been hard for a lot of Episcopalians. However, Baker notes that the Church’s outlook on gay rights has changed rather significantly in more recent years.
Baker thinks this is an opportunity to show the United States that Episcopalians care about all people. Some disagreed, and Baker doesn’t forget to note that. But he also mentions that they “prayed… listened… and came up with compromises” so that marriage equality is just that – equality.
During the ceremonies, language specific to gender will be eliminated. For example, instead of saying “husband and wife,” the minister will read, “the couple.” This is a progressive ruling, but the vote gives clergy the right to refuse performing the ceremonies. These new guidelines fall into place on November 29. It is also the first Sunday in the liturgical season, Advent.
The Episcopalian Church isn’t the first Christian denomination to perform religious ceremonies for same-sex couples. They join the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church.