Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The General Convention of the Episcopal Church adopted marriage equality on July 1. On Monday, June 29, the House of Bishops adopted two resolutions, AO54 that offered liturgies for trial use as a revised an expanded version of the liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions from the 2012 General Convention (the old BCP liturgy of matrimony remains), and AO36 that revised the Church Canon 1.18 on Marriage to allow same-sex marriage. A roll call vote on AO36 showed 129 bishops voting for it, 26 voting against, and 5 abstaining (Bp. vonR voted for both resolutions). Those resolutions went to the House of Deputies for consent. The vote was even greater there. On AO54 of clergy by diocese (1 vote per diocese), 94 voted for, 12 voted against, and 2 were divided. Of laity by diocese (1 vote per diocese), 90 voted for, 11 voted against, and 3 divided. On the second resolution, on revising the canon, clergy voted 85 for, 15 against, and 6 divided while in the laity, 88 voted for, 12 voted against, and 6 divided (The ECSC delegation voted for both resolutions). Thus marriage equality passed both houses by enormous landslides.

Same-sex couples may marry in the Episcopal Church starting on November 29, 2015, in places where this is legal under civil law (there are diocese outside the U.S. where same-sex marriage remains illegal). However, under the terms of the resolutions, both diocesan bishops and priests are free to refuse same-sex marriages, but bishops refusing must still provide access to same-sex marriage ceremonies to persons within their dioceses who want them).

The decision of the Episcopal Church comes just five days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States.