Two weeks ago SCOTUS made marriage equality the law of the land, ushering in the age of same-sex marriage.
Quickly following, was the Episcopal Church’s General Convention. The GC is the decision making body of the Church, meeting every three years in two chambers, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies (and this year the unofficial House of Twitter). The two houses spent nine days working through resolutions, which included electing a new Presiding Bishop, divesting in fossil fuels and even raising all church worker’s pay to $15/hour (this already on top of women bishops and conga lines. Seriously, we’re a progressive church). This is where the actual Canons of the church are changed, as well as countless proclamations and other resolutions and studies.
The biggest news was that both houses passed the use of a previously-tested Rite and the update to the marriage rite for same-sex couples. The Canons of the church were updated to make marriage the union of two people, regardless of gender.
So it’s awesome, I actually wasn’t aware they were going to update the “regular” marriage rite (I did follow along on Twitter, but I didn’t read the Blue Book ahead of time with all the resolutions).
My bishop, of course, voted against the resolution. He did not, join a letter that 20 bishops signed on to expressing disappointment in the outcome, so I suppose that is some restraint. He has not been a friend to the queer community, so this was expected. It’s just disappointing. In a pastoral letter to the diocese he wrote:
However, to my mind, their supporting materials do not make a coherent or compelling theological case for same-sex marriage, nor do the rites themselves adequately explain what they are doing and why. Especially in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision, their approval was seen by the overwhelming majority of those present at Convention as a matter of“marriage equality,“ of simple justice, making irrelevant any serious discussion of sacramental theology.
My church will be performing any marriage, so it’s not an issue, but his letter reeks of pettiness. Almost as if he wants to throw out the idea that the queer community should be seen as equal in the eyes of the church. I don’t understand his vehemence against us, or continued insistence that the church is moving in the wrong direction by granting all its members equal access to the sacraments.
I wrote about this extensively at Global Entropy, although I still need to bring those couple articles over.
But I’m tired of fighting. Yes, we won this battle (and there are many more to go), but this was a major victory. And sometimes, I just need a break and want to enjoy what we’ve accomplished. The country is not perfect, but we’re moving closer to being a ‘more perfect union.’
In the meantime, I’ll actively avoid church whenever the Bishop visits (I already do, although he was at the Easter service I went to), I don’t want to deal with a cleric who doesn’t see me as worthy as other parishioners.
I spent this morning working with the Young Adult Ministry (YAM) from my church on a Habitat for Humanity house. I wasn’t seen as unequal or broken, the same with any other time I’m with them, including our last happy hour where every person around the table was some sort of minority. The bishop can have his outdated and harmful views, and I’ll fight and rail against them, but for now, I’m going to take satisfaction in a job well done.
All my best,
h/t to Scott, the rector of St. Brendan’s for the awesome illustration!