Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Times: Church approves same-sex blessings
The Episcopal Church in the US has approved a churchwide ceremony for blessing same-sex unions.
The Episcopal General Convention gave final approval to the liturgy during a meeting in Indianapolis.
It is the latest Episcopal step toward accepting gay relationships. The church elected its first openly gay bishop in 2003.
Other liberal-leaning Protestants ordain gays or allow individual congregations to celebrate gay or lesbian unions. However, only one major Protestant group, the United Church of Christ, has endorsed same-sex marriage outright.
Episcopal opponents of gay marriage say the new ceremonies effectively endorse same-sex marriage with no theological justification for doing so.
Each bishop will decide whether to allow the ceremonies in a local diocese. The liturgy can be used starting on December 2, the first Sunday in Advent.