THE Diocese of Massachusetts in the Episcopal Church in the United State(ECUSA), is considering whether it should hand over marriage ceremonies to thstate, leaving it free to bless couples after a civil marriage. Gay marriagwas legalised in the state in 2004.
The Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rt Revd M. Thomas Shaw, does not allow hipriests to sign the licences of same-sex couples, but allows them to bless thcouples after marriage by clergy of another denomination, or by a civiofficial.
The diocese of California set out its guidelines on gay blessings in letter to clergy from the Bishop of California, the Rt Revd Marc Andrus, on October. Blessings are subject to the discretion of clergy; counsellinmust be given; the bishop must be informed and consulted in advance; and ritewill be identified or developed by the Diocesan Commission on Marriage anBlessings.
The other ECUSA dioceses officially permitting same-sex blessings areArkansas, Delaware, Long Island, Nevada, New Hampshire, North CarolinaVermont, and Washington.
The resolution will be voted on at the diocesan convention in Boston on 2Octobe