Amidst all that has happened these past few weeks... or not... for the LGBT community, it is always great to celebrate those bright lights in the Episcopal Church when I see them amidst the fog and clouds of prejudice. Such is the case in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, where Bishop Tom Breidenthal at his Diocesan Convention said it was now time for Southern Ohio to consider blessing same-sex unions. And, in an act of symbolic significance, this new policy would go into effect as of Easter 2010. Breidenthal himself has always been a supporter of blessing same-sex couples who are in committed relationships, but the Bishop notes, that is not where the diocese was at when he took office. But now, with the passage of C056 and D025 at the General Convention directing bishops on "pastoral generosity" toward the LGBT faithful in the pews... he says its now time to follow the lead of the national church toward full inclusion. Hooray for him!
The Diocese of Rochester (NY) has passed a resolution condemning the anti-homosexuality act currently before the Uganda legislature. The bill, which I commented on here and here, would imprison gay people, and in some cases, lead to their executions. The Anglican Church in Uganda put out a statement in which it refers to homosexuality as a "sexual disorientation." The Diocese of Rochester is sending its resolution to political and church leaders in Uganda, informing them of their disappointment in light of the Anglican Communion's stance on violence toward people. Glad somebody is saying something!
Finally, the Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, in light of this past summer's General Convention, is lifting the ban on clergy acting as state agents in signing marriage certificates for lesbian and gay couples. Remember, it's been legal for queers to get married in Massachusetts for awhile. Now the Church is catching up to the state in allowing the LGBT faithful to get the full treatment, as it were, for their marriages in the Church. I think that's grand... and I stick by my earlier argument: the religious officials should stick to blessing marriages and leave the state functions to the state. Otherwise, poor misguided straight people will continue to believe that when the priest pronounces you "husband and wife", you are now recognized as spouses and will be admitted to a hospital room if, God forbid, your sweetie is in accident... or dies and you are eligible for his or her social security benefits. Those are rights granted by the law, not by God. Because I firmly believe if we were to really leave these matters to God... this idiotic debate over marriage equality would have been over, and gay people would be getting married.
So hurrah for the Church in the Northern (Kingdom) part of the United States. Please help spread the love South!