When the Episcopal Church voted last summer to allow the blessing of same-sex unions, many clergy and faithful in Wisconsin and the nation saw it as a major step toward the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in the life of the church.
Six months later, the prior ban on same-sex blessings remains in effect in the southern third of the state covered by the Diocese of Milwaukee. Bishop Steven Miller has yet to decide whether he’ll allow the provisional rite approved by the church to be used in its parishes. And the lack of a decision is frustrating many in a diocese that strongly supported the change.
“I have people here in my parish – faithful, committed Christians – who are partners in same-sex relationships and long to have their re lationships recognized by the church they love. So I’m really anxious to be able to do that,” said the Rev. Andy Jones of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Madison, echoing the concerns of several pastors in the diocese.