Elected representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of California today approved use of rites for the blessing of same gender couples by an overwhelming margin. The action opens the way for Diocesan Bishop Marc Andrus to allow these services to be used on a trial basis by Episcopal churches across the Bay Area.
Clergy and lay delegates also approved by a broad majority a resolution countering recent opinions voiced by the Episcopal House of Bishops in New Orleans. Drafted by the Rev. John Kirkley, the resolution both affirmed “the unanimous decision of the (Diocesan) Standing Committee to refuse to discriminate against partnered gay and lesbian bishops-elect” and deplored
“the lack of access to adequate pastoral and ritual care for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in large parts of the Episcopal Church and the refusal of the majority of our bishops to make provision for it.
“Today we took two important steps toward full inclusion of LGBT people and their families into the Episcopal Church,” Oasis California President Thomas C. Jackson said. Oasis is the LGBT ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California. “With broad support from our straight allies, we placed LGBT couples on an equal footing with heterosexual couples when they ask the church to bless their relationship. Our elected representatives also made clear our collective commitment to including LGBT people as full members of the Episcopal Church.”