Episcopalians in Bay State to seek church rites for gay weddings

Study clergy role in civil marriage ceremonies
Massachusetts Episcopalians will seek authorization from their denomination to use the church’s official marriage rites in same-sex marriage ceremonies. Delegates in the diocese favored that step, 324 to 43, at a late October convention in Boston.

On another hot issue, delegates called for a task force to study “the nature of Christian marriage and civil marriage” in light of a tabled proposal for clergy to stop officiating at civil marriage ceremonies.

Massachusetts Episcopalians have wrestled with the issue of same-sex marriage since May 2004, when the Bay State became the first state in the nation to make the practice legal.

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts is on record as supporting same-sex marriage, but priests can’t perform same-sex weddings unless the national church changes rules for the use of rites in the Book of Common Prayer. Those rites are currently limited to heterosexual couples.


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