The U.S. Episcopal Church approved a liturgy on Tuesday that clergy can use to bless same-sex unions, including gay marriages in states where they are legal, the first U.S. religious denomination to approve such a ritual.
Delegates to the triennial convention of the 14th largest U.S. religious denomination approved a resolution establishing a liturgy to be used in such blessings. Episcopal bishops had voted to approve the resolution on Monday.
The United Church of Christ, the 24th ranked denomination in the United States with about a million members, voted in 2005 to recognize same sex unions, but no other church has established a liturgy.
The U.S. Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican communion and has about 2 million members.
© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.