In the first three months that gay and lesbian couples could marry legally in California, an estimated 11,000 of them took their vows—a number that, according to a new study, is higher than the total in the first four years that gay marriage was legal in Massachusetts.
A Presbyterian court in Pittsburgh ruled October 2 that a minister did not violate scripture or church law by performing a union ceremony for two lesbians, since the ceremony was not a marriage under church or state law.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) permits ministers to preside over same-sex unions as long as they are not purported to be marriages.
Massachusetts lawmakers voted last month to repeal a 1913 law that had the effect of preventing out-of-state gay or lesbian couples from being married in the Bay State. Following the state Senate’s previous voice-vote action, the state House of Representatives approved the measure by a 118-to-35 vote on July 29.
Adding fuel to the growing controversy over gay marriage in California, a group of retired United Methodist clergy has volunteered to perform same-sex marriages, a move that conservatives call a “surrender to popular fashion.”
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops have approved, by a vote of 191 to 1, a policy statement condemning embryonic stem cell research. Their seven-page statement calls such research “a gravely immoral act.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took the vote June 13 at its semiannual meeting, held in Orlando, Florida.
As California clerks began issuing civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples in mid-June, Episcopal bishops in the state took a variety of stances on whether their dioceses would provide religious rites for newly married gays and lesbians.
A California constitutional amendment to limit marriage to “a man and a woman” has been approved for the November 4 general election, just weeks after the state Supreme Court permitted same-sex marriages. California secretary of state Debra Bowen on June 2 certified that supporters had submitted enough signatures for the measure to qualify for the ballot.
Little noted in the history behind the California Supreme Court decision that gives the “right to marry” to same-sex couples are the bold steps taken over four decades by onetime Pentecostal minister Troy Perry in trying to establish legal and religious rights for gays and lesbians.