The U.S. Episcopal Church is paving its way as the first major religious denomination in the country to bless same-sex relationships. This month, the local Episcopal diocese will decide whether clergy here can use the new blessing.
|Do You Like this Article? Then Like Us on Facebook.|
Earlier this year at its general convention, the national church authorized the provisional use of liturgy to bless same-sex couples. The liturgy can be used beginning in December if local diocese choose to allow it.
"The church says we can use it, but it is under the authority of the local bishops whether to use it," said Bishop Russell Jacobus of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, which heads Episcopal churches in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Jacobus said he plans to announce his decision of whether to allow clergy in the diocese to use the liturgy at the diocese's annual convention Oct. 19-20 in Manitowoc.
The liturgy, Jacobus said, is similar to that for a marriage, but instead is a blessing of a couple's relationship. Domestic partnerships have been recognized in the state since 2009, but same-sex marriage is banned in Wisconsin by a constitutional amendment that passed in 2006.
Jacobus said he thinks the move by the national church is an indication of where the Episcopal Church is heading in terms of same-sex relationships, but he questioned whether approving the liturgy is the right step.
"I have some particular concerns. I believe that this is a direction the Episcopal Church is going and no matter where people stand on the issue, the church is probably not going to turn back on the issue," he said. "What I have heard partnered gay and lesbian couples say they would prefer is a marriage liturgy. ... It looks very similar to a marriage.
"I guess my thought is if that's where we're going eventually, why didn't the general convention just simply say, 'This is a marriage liturgy. It happens in states where marriages occur,'" but not in states where same-sex marriage is banned.
"I think this is a very confusing step in the direction that it's going to continue," Jacobus added. "I don't think it's a helpful step at this point in time."
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Green Bay Press-Gazette