Forecasting the Legislative Weather @ GC 2018

From the House of Deputies News:

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“Among the favorite pre-General Convention pastimes on social media platforms where Episcopalians congregate has been guessing what will be the most significant and sensitive legislative issue at the gathering, which begins with hearings tonight but opens officially on Thursday, July 5.

At this convention, that game is a little more complicated than in the past. But here’s a review of some of the most talked-about issues in the run-up to convention with a few thoughts on the possible outcomes of each.

Should the church put rites for marrying same-sex couples in the Book of Common Prayer, thus making them available to all couples?

Eight bishops in U. S. dioceses do not permit same-sex couples to marry within the diocese, and some do not permit their clergy to officiate at same-sex marriages outside the diocese either. Resolution A085, proposed by the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, would, among other things, begin the process of including same-sex marriage rites in the Book of Common Prayer, where they would be available to all couples.

Resolution B012, submitted late last week by three bishops, would extend the use of same-sex marriage rites on a trial basis, and allow congregations whose bishops would not grant permission to use the rites to seek Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) from another bishop who would allow the rites to be used.

Those who favor A085 argue that it is time to make same-sex marriage rites available to all Episcopalians so that couples can get married in their own churches. Supporters of B012 argue that it is charitable to honor the consciences of the eight bishops who currently do not permit the use of the rites and that it is unwise to revise the Book of Common Prayer one piece at a time.

That the proposers of B012 at no point communicated their intentions to the Task Force on the Study of Marriage has made early debate on this issue hotter than it might otherwise have been, as has a press release from the supporters of B012 which, opponents say, seems to pit the interests of people of color against those of LGBTQ people.”

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