The 27,000-member Diocese of California, based in San Francisco, has ordained more gay and lesbian clergy than any other. Priests in the diocese – which includes San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa counties and part of Santa Clara County – have blessed same-sex unions for more than three decades.
Those practices, once on the margins of the Episcopal Church, have become the mainstream.
The church’s House of Bishops gathered in New Orleans last week to discuss how to respond to the communique. They chose to maintain the status quo: They would “exercise restraint” by not consecrating any gay, partnered candidates for bishop, and they would not authorize “any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions.”
For conservatives, the statements were hollow because it allows priests to privately bless same-sex unions.
“This is neither prohibition nor restraint,” said a statement issued Wednesday by the Right Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop for the Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin. “It is simply turning a blind eye.”