1. Some dioceses will proceed with public same-sex blessings if they are so inclined. This commission’s report was authorized by the diocese’s 156th convention in 2005, and once the gears are turning it’s unrealistic to expect that they will stop suddenly because of a statement from the House of Bishops, a resolution from the Lambeth Conference, or even a resolution of General Convention (peace be upon it). The diocese’s 158th convention, which meets for its day of business on Saturday, Oct. 20, could table the report or receive for a year of study or otherwise kill it with kindness. Still, does anyone seriously expect such a vote from this convention?
2. This discussion is, and always has been, about marriage. Three times the commission members express their hope “for the day when ”˜marriage equality’ will be the reality in our Church and State.”
Set aside the oft-heard and, to my mind, patronizing arguments that the church should bless same-sex couples because it blesses houses, pets, and fishing boats. Human beings are not houses, pets, or fishing boats, and for the church to pronounce the blessings of God on a covenanted and sexual relationship is a far more weighty and consequential matter. Two of these three recommended rites specifically adapt existing marriage services ”” one from The Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, 1979, and the other from A New Zealand Prayer Book. The third service is the Diocese of New Westminster’s custom-designed “Rite for the Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Covenants.”