SAME-SEX MARRIAGE TO BEGIN IN
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN SOUTH CAROLINA
On July 21, 2015, Bishop Charles vonRosenberg announced that same-sex marriage will begin in the Episcopal Church diocese of South Carolina on November 29, 2015. Until then, the diocesan policy of allowing the blessing of same-sex unions will remain in place. The bishop wrote: "Our current policy involving 'blessings' remains in place until Advent I (November 29, 2015). At that point, the liturgies for marriage will be appropriate to use, as authorized rites of the Church." See the bishop's announcement at www.episcopalchurchsc.org . Bp vonR also said that he had asked the diocesan Liturgical Commission to study ways to implement the new policy in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
The resolution on same-sex marriage that was adopted by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church on July 1, 2015, Resolution A054, contained the provision "that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her theological objection to or support for the 78th General Convention's action contained in this resolution." (www.generalconvention.org/gc/2015-resolutions/A054/current_english_text ). This is called the "Thurlow Amendment" in honor of the Rev. David Thurlow. At the 2012 General Convention, South Carolina clerical deputy the Rev. David Thurlow, made a minority report in the House of Deputies opposing the adoption of the resolution on the blessing of same-sex unions, and this provision was put into the resolution that was adopted. The Thurlow Amendment was copied verbatim into the new resolution on same-sex marriage of 2015. This was announced in the House of Deputies on July 1, by the chair of the committee that drew up the resolution. Ironically, Thurlow is no longer a member of the Episcopal Church having left the Church in the schism of October 2012 (he is rector of St. Matthias in Summerton, in the Lawrence diocese).
The delegation from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina at the General Convention of 2015 unanimously approved of the resolution on same-sex marriage. However, not everyone from South Carolina was on the same page. In the House of Bishops, resigned suffragan bishop William Skilton voted against approval. Resigned bishop Edward Salmon did not vote, but he and Skilton both signed the statement of protest drawn up by the dissenting bishops on July 2. Neither Skilton nor Salmon has any current official capacity in the Episcopal Church diocese of South Carolina.
Bishop vonRosenberg is the diocesan bishop, and he has declared the new Church policy will become effective in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina on the announced date.