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US bishops back gay blessings

19 November 2009

by Pat Ashworth

CHRISTIAN SUPPORT for same-sex marriage is not a dramatic break with tradition, but a recognition that the Church’s understanding of marriage has changed dramatically over 2000 years, the Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd John Chane, said on Tuesday,

He was announcing his support for the proposed marriage-equality law in Washington DC, which, he said, “explicitly protects the religious liberty of those who believe that God’s love can be reflected in the loving commitment between two people of the same sex, and of those who do not find God there. This is as it should be in a society so deeply rooted in the principles of religious freedom and equality under the law.”

He took pains to emphasise that the proposed law did not address the religious meaning of marriage, and would not force any congregation to change its religious teachings or bless any couple.

Bishops of two other Episcopal dioceses, Bethlehem and Southern Ohio, have announced interim measures to allow clergy to bless same-gender relationships. It would be up to clergy in Bethlehem to decide whether they were interested, and to then take it up within the parish system, said the Bishop, the Rt Revd Paul Marshall.

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