Episcopal convention approves a ‘pastoral solution’ on same-sex marriage

ENS reports: “AUSTIN, Texas (RNS) — Same-sex couples will now be able to marry in their home parish even if their local bishop has moral objections to gay marriage, Episcopal Church leaders decided on Friday (July 13).

Meeting in Austin at their triennial convention, the House of Bishops and House of Deputies, the bicameral governing body of the church, approved the controversial resolution after days of debate.

Under the new rule, couples can request gender-neutral marriage rites, which were approved for trial use at the church’s 2015 convention, in the church where they worship. Even if the local bishop opposes same-sex weddings, the priest of the parish can still conduct the ceremony, requesting “pastoral support” from a bishop in another diocese if necessary.

Currently, eight of the United States’ 101 Episcopal dioceses — Albany, N.Y.; Central Florida; Dallas; Florida; North Dakota; Springfield, Ill.; Tennessee; and the Virgin Islands — do not authorize the liturgies.”

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