Marriage Work is CompleteThe work on marriage at GC'15 is now complete, as of late yesterday afternoon.
All parts of the three-part bundle of marriage resolutions were passed, with slight amendments, by the House of Bishops, with the House of Deputies concurring without further amendment. Here are the three resolutions in their final form:
- A037 - Continue the Work of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage
- A054 - Adopt Resources and Rites from "Liturgical Resources I: I will bless you and you will be a blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015
- A036 - Amend Canon I.18 Marriage
The blessings rite for same-sex couples authorized at GC'12 is authorized for another three years, and two new marriage rites are authorized for fully shared use, so that different-sex and same-sex couples can use the same marriage rites. Diocesan bishops retain authority to permit or forbid use of those rites in their dioceses, but if they forbid use of the marriage rites, they must allow their use by the couple and/or their priest in a neighboring diocese. Furthermore, no one will be required to perform these rites in any specific case. The marriage canon, Canon I.18, has been changed so that it is consistent with same-sex marriage. Finally, the marriage task force will continue. Some members will serve again for continuity, but a few total seats will be added so that a greater representation of the spectrum of understandings of marriage in our Church can be incorporated.
The votes taken by the House of Deputies were taken by Orders (explained below) yesterday, as follows -- note that the votes represented here count deputations (clergy & lay), not individual deputies:
Vote on A054: Liturgies
Vote on A036: Canon
Vote sheet for DSO on A036
In a vote by Orders, every deputy must sign their name by their vote, and these are a matter of record. A motion must pass both in a majority of clergy deputations and in a majority of lay deputations -- but to pass in a clergy or lay deputation, 3 of the 4 deputies must vote in favor. So calling for a vote by Orders in effect makes it harder for a motion to pass.
You can see from the votes, however, that both A054 and A036 passed by large margins.
Finally, here are some other resources for learning about the new marriage situation in The Episcopal Church.
DSO videos of reflections by Bishop Breidenthal
Episcopal News Service story
House of Deputies News story
Associated Press news note
Summary of SCOTUS decision in Center Aisle
We have two more "legislative days" remaining. We are so grateful for your prayers thus far. Please continue to pray for us.