Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, as a way of life

Deputation Updates: Marriage Equality in the Church

The Rev. Lance Robbins, Deputy

Basically the rest of the day dealt with A054 Liturgical Resources for Marriage.  Two Rites for Trial Use were discussed.  This resolution was passed by the House of Bishops and sent to us to debate.  It was adopted after much discussion, thought, and prayer.

Lastly for the day we took a great deal of time, prayer, thought, discussion, and love to consider Amending Canon 1.18.  The Marriage Canon.  Again this was passed by the House of Bishops and sent to the House of Deputies for discussion.  We voted by orders and it was preceded by lively and heartfelt debate.  At the end of the day, the resolution was adopted by the House.  For those who didn’t agree, no one is forced to comply with this new Canon. For many who have wanted this change for decades, it was life giving.  We are all the Body of Christ.

An emotionally exhausting time on the floor. Keep us in your prayers.

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The Rev. Chris Streeter, Deputy

Finally, we came to the two pieces of legislation that called many of us to want to serve as deputies to this General Convention: A054 (Adopt Liturgical Resources “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing) and A036 (Amend Marriage Canon). I was proud of us today. Not because of the outcome of debate and voting, but because of the manner in which debate and voting was conducted. Differing viewpoints were shared freely. Dissenting testimony was given equal weight. There was no gloating. There was no applause when the results were shared. It was an afternoon grounded in prayer and mutual respect, a true gathering of the Body of Christ. For more on this historic session of the House of Deputies, I commend the excellent article in today’s Deputy News, which can be found here. 

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The Rev. Michael Hartney, Legislative Aid

The highlight of the day was consideration of the Marriage Services and changing the canon regarding marriage.  The House of Bishops had approved both resolutions yesterday and the House of Deputies considered them today.  The first authorizes for trial use two services for marriage.  One uses the Book of Common Prayer 1979‘s service, changing pronouns to allow for same sex services.  The other is a slightly re-written service that has been available with permission of the Bishop since 2012.  The resolution allows opposite gender and same gender couples to use either service.  The resolution specifically recognized that some Bishops and Dioceses will not allow same gender marriage services – and that they would not be forced to do so.  The marriage canon changes the Declaration of Intention’s wording – something that I particularly welcome.  Its antiquated language didn’t even make sense for opposite gender couples, in my opinion.

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