As a church that permitted “gay and lesbian clergy” to hold themselves forth as such, the Episcopal Church found it could not resist permitting such individuals to live with their “partners,” cohabiting openly without benefit of marriage. A kind of ancestral conservatism prevented Episcopalians from boldly sallying forth to bless same-sex unions as sacramental marriages so long as the state was not willing to legalize civil marriage for such couples. Thus the church found itself obliged to wink at something”“sexual relationships openly proclaimed by cohabiting but unmarried “clergy couples” of the same sex”“that it would not tolerate if the couples were heterosexual.
Ah, but now comes the state to the rescue! What the state has blessed, the Episcopal Church can now bless. Even more, it will now insist on its long-suppressed moral strictures about marriage! No more of this living in sin, which just yesterday we didn’t have the nerve to call sin! You folks better get married, because the state has decided for us that we can give you the sacrament!
Or if we want to keep our footing and not join Bishop Tanglefoot in a heap at the foot of the cathedral stairs, we can speak as Christians ought to speak: the Episcopal Church has been tolerating its clergy living openly in sin. Now it will bless the sin and the sinners alike. But it will righteously insist on it!