News / USA

US Episcopal Church Approves Blessing of Same-Sex Couples

Jason Welker (L) and Scott Everhart pose with their bands on top of an X-Men comic book after exchanging wedding vows at a comic book retail shop in Manhattan, New York June 20, 2012.
Jason Welker (L) and Scott Everhart pose with their bands on top of an X-Men comic book after exchanging wedding vows at a comic book retail shop in Manhattan, New York June 20, 2012.
VOA News
The U.S. Episcopal Church has approved a new worship service to bless same-sex couples, becoming the largest religious denomination in the United States to accept the union of homosexual couples.  

The church's House of Deputies, which is split equally between clergy and lay leaders, approved the blessing Tuesday by a vote of 171-50 at the national convention in Indianapolis.  The House of Bishops passed the new policy on Monday by a vote of 111-41.

The new blessing, called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," includes prayers and an exchange of vows and rings - but does not mention the word "marriage."  The blessing will be introduced in early December, and will be evaluated for a three-year period until the next convention.

Local bishops can decide whether or not to allow the service and local priests will not be disciplined if they refuse to perform the ceremony.

Tuesday's vote is the latest move by the U.S. Episcopal Church, which has a membership of two million people, towards embracing homosexuality.  The church elected  its first openly gay bishop in 2003, which created a split in the denomination and angered leaders in the worldwide Anglican community.  

The United Church of Christ is the only major denomination in the United States to officially recognize same-sex marriage.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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Comments page of 2
by: hshtick from: Dallas
July 11, 2012 8:28 AM
Will be good for business, they will increase their market share. Your move Mr. Pope

by: MACDONALDBANK from: Toronto, Canada
July 11, 2012 8:11 AM
Being black, left-handed or being gay is just as natural. Bibles and the torah which includes leviticus 18:22 should be immediately banned for promoting hatred against minorities; namely the gay community and the crosses removed from all schools and churches. The evil writings in Leviticus 18:22 against gays depict; rules for temple rituals or “P” … Priestly Rules & expanded by the pope; homophobes and religious frauds to attack the gay community and never meant to apply to the public but to priests. Leviticus exists in the old testament & torah.

"It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy." To see the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is shameful. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it is between two guys or girls all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE! How would you like it … if hate speech was directed to your brother or sister as you sat in the pew; spewed by some better than thou religious lunatic with a hateful black book about Leviticus -- under his arm?
In Response

July 11, 2012 2:27 PM
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