Yesterday the General Convention approved the first readings of amendments to two of our non-discrimination canons (D002 & D019, if you’re looking things up on the GC’12 website). Canons are like bylaws, amplifying the constitution. Both would add “gender identity and expression” to the categories on the basis of which it is not acceptable to discriminate in our church. Other categories already listed in the canons include race, sex, age, national origin, marital status, and sexual orientation). In one of the canons, the matter is access to discernment processes for ordination. In another, it’s the rights and privileges of laity in our church.
At the Integrity Eucharist last night, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson pointed out in his homily that these actions have the effect of adding the “T” to “LGBT.” If you’re not sure what the word “transgender” means, it could be good to discuss this in our diocese in the coming months.
Also, the House of Bishops (HoB) passed an amended version of the Blessings resolution (A049) yesterday after it had left my legislative committee at 9:30 a.m. that very morning. It came back to my committee this morning, because of HoB’s amendments, and we have now sent it forward to the House of Deputies (HoD) through the committee on “Dispatch of Business,” which manages legislation through the two houses and relevant committees. They are now scrambling to get things through proper channels swiftly as the end of Convention approaches.
Finally, General Convention approved creation of a task force on marriage, to study the current state of the institution and theology of marriage in lands where The Episcopal Church exists and around the world.
As someone who is heartened by these decisions, I feel accountable to those of us who are troubled or even angered by them. I hope we will talk. For a small number of our “trans” sisters and brothers in Southern Ohio, this is so vital to who they are.
We took votes yesterday in the House of Deputies on the Israel/Palestine resolutions (B019 & C060). They went even better than I had expected. I was very glad we even got to consider B019, and we approved it without objection. It urges, especially, investment in Palestinian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) so that the Palestinians in the occupied territories can build institutions for self-determination that are so vital to having an independent state, free of Israeli control. By the time it got to the HoD, C060 had been made much more acceptable (in my opinion). A motion was made to amend it to add explicit language calling for boycott of goods produced in the Israeli settlements within the Palestinian territories and for divestment from businesses supporting those settlements and the military occupation (which would have been much worse, in my opinion). This amendment was soundly defeated, by maybe 95% to 5% in a voice vote. So C060 passed un-amended and with B019 now goes to the HoB.
The HoD now has before it the motion on Structure, which will be taken up today (I assume). You may have seen Bishop Breidenthal’s recent writing on this:
He has played a central role in this very important matter before Convention. Also, the HoB joins the HoD for a joint session for the presentation of the final proposed budget this afternoon.
Structure & Budget. Power & Money. These are the big big matters before us in the final days of Convention.