Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prophetic Stands of Conscience

I don't know if this will become a movement that starts sweeping across the nation, but there are at least two California Episcopal Churches that I am aware of who are opting out of having clergy sign state-issued marriage certificates until ALL people can pledge to love and honor their beloved.

Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, and others in the Church, have been saying that there needs to be a separation between what is a state function vs. what is the function of the church at the time of marriage. The Church's role is to bless the couple; it should NOT be in the position of acting as an agent of the state by having clergy sign the marriage the licence. So far, All Saint's Episcopal in Pasadena announced, in the face of the bigotry rendered by Prop. 8, that they would no longer have clergy serve as state agents. Now, St. Michael and All Angels in Studio City has joined the resistance movement. Here's the resolution adopted by the church leadership.

Adopted by the vestry, July 21, 2009
WHEREAS, on November 4, 2008, a majority of the California electorate voted to approve Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to state"[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California;"
WHEREAS, on May 26, 2009, the California Supreme Court voted to uphold the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a decision which not only deprives same-sex couples of the fundamental right to marry, but, in the words of dissenting Justice Carlos Moreno, "places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities";
WHEREAS, the institution of civil marriage in the State of California is, asa result of Proposition 8 and the Court's decision, a constitutionally-mandated instrument of discrimination, which furthers injustice and denies same-sex couples the fundamental dignities to which each human being is entitled;
WHEREAS, our active participation in the discriminatory system of civil marriage is inconsistent with Jesus' call to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being; and
WHEREAS, Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is called to make the sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry do declare that the sacramental right of marriage is available to all couples, but that the clergy of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church will not sign civil marriage certificates for any marriage so long as the right to marry is denied to same-sex couples.

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