Effective immediately, clergy in the Diocese of San Joaquin may, at their discretion and in accordance with the conscience of each priest, perform blessings of same sex civil marriages, domestic partnerships, and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God. Said relationships shall be called Holy Unions for purposes of blessing these relationships and purposes of recognition of said relationships. For those same sex couples who are legally married, the blessing performed may be termed the Blessing of a Civil Marriage.
It must also be recognized that the Canons of the Church currently limit marriages to opposite sex couples, as does California law. Accordingly, until such time as both the Canons and state law permit the solemnization of the marriage of a same sex couple, and specific authorization of the bishop is given, no priest of this Diocese shall attempt to solemnize a marriage between two persons of the same sex.
Specific policies, as well as liturgies authorized for use within the Diocese, will be published separately. Clergy are encouraged to engage in open discussion of this matter, as well as the policies and liturgies, with members of their congregations, particularly those who are members of Vestries or Bishop’s Committees.
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