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Episcopal Church: Same-Sex Marriage Allowed Denomination-Wide

Image: Episcopal Church: Same-Sex Marriage Allowed Denomination-Wide
The Rev. Michael Briggs, left, and the Rev. Ken Malcolm, right, hug as they walk after Episcopalians overwhelmingly voted to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 12:26 PM

The Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex marriages denomination-wide on Wednesday with overwhelming approval less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states in a landmark decision.

The 173-27 vote in favor of embracing same-sex marriage took place in Salt Lake City at the Episcopal General Convention, and the denomination’s new law now eliminates gender-specific language in issuing marriages, using “couple” instead of “husband and wife,” according to The Associated Press.

Although the Episcopal Church had previously allowed priests to perform same-sex civil unions, the denomination’s laws had remained unchanged until the vote on Wednesday, according to the AP. The vote also arrives 12 years after the Church elected Gene Robinson as its first openly-gay bishop.

Robinson told the AP that he was thrilled with the vote on a day that he was not sure he would live to see.

“What we're seeing I think in the Episcopal Church, and last week with the Supreme Court decision, is an entire culture evolving into understanding that gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people contribute just as much as anyone else to this society and deserve all the same rights,” Robinson said.

Not all Episcopalians were supportive of this new law, however, and in order to refrain from demanding that priests with moral objections violate their consciences in performing same-sex marriage liturgies, the law gives them the right to refuse without incurring any penalty, according to The Washington Post. Bishops may also refuse to allow those marriages to take place in their respective diocese, although they would be required to refer same-sex marriage-seeking couples to a diocese that would perform ceremonies.

Bishop Edward S. Little II decried the change in the law, saying that the “issue is not the welcome of gays and lesbians,” but “whether we should alter the received faith of the church?” according to The Post.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the Anglican Communion that includes the Episcopal Church under its umbrella, also expressed “deep concern” over the Episcopal Church’s decision to allow same-sex marriages, saying that the “decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships,” according to The Post.

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The Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex marriages denomination-wide on Wednesday with overwhelming approval less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states in a landmark decision.
episcopal church, same sex, marriage, ruling
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2015-26-02
Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 12:26 PM
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