Vermont Episcopalians unveil ceremonies for same-sex unions

"Consistency in teaching, in language"
Episcopalians in Vermont, in a “pastoral response” to the nation’s first and only civil unions law, have unveiled liturgical rites that gay couples can use in the state’s 48 Episcopal churches.

The worship guidelines, which look and sound like liturgies used for heterosexual weddings, are believed to be the first anywhere in the Anglican Communion that convey church blessings on gay civil partnerships.

The services are contained in a 36-page manual that was distributed to clergy last month. A committee began drafting the rites in October, and they are expected to become official in 2006.

The “blessing of holy unions” is backed by Vermont Bishop Thomas Ely. “It would help our people to have the experience of common liturgy where there’s consistency in teaching, in language.”


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