Rite Sails through Deputies
  • Tuesday, July 10, 2012

By Matt Townsend

The House of Deputies adopted Resolution A049 July 10 authorizing the provisional use of a blessing liturgy for same-sex couples. The resolution carried by 78 percent among lay deputies and 76 percent among clerical deputies. The House of Bishops had approved the rite July 9.

“I am frequently explaining to my friends what the Episcopal Church is, and what we stand for,” said Jenna Guy of Iowa. “It is always with burning pride when I tell them about the inclusive nature of this church.”

The Rev. John Zamboni of New Jersey described the resolution as a wonderful piece of liturgical work. “I’ve been happily married to my wife for six years,” he said. “I wish we would have had this liturgy when we got married six years ago.”

Other deputies, like the Rev. Charlie Holt of Central Florida, opposed the resolution.

“We had a man who spoke in this house to reform this church, and that very much moved me in a very powerful way,” Holt said. “For the first time, I felt united with this group. But then, just a few minutes later, we’re going to proceed with the debate that deeply divides us. What I want is for us to be faithful to the things that we have said in our Book of Common Prayer. Holt said the declaration of marriage as between a man and a woman is a core value to him.

“I speak to you in the minority,” said the Ven. David Collum of Albany. “Passing this resolution is just the majority wielding power against the minority, saying, ‘We don’t care. We don’t care.’”

Before the vote, the Very Rev. Timothy Kimbrough of Tennessee proposed that the resolution be divided into two sections for the vote, one of which would be specific to the blessing rite. President Bonnie Anderson ruled in favor of this division but was overruled by a majority vote of the deputies.

“I won’t take it personally,” Anderson said.

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