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.
Because the blessings of two lesbian couples were called “unions” or “weddings,” not “marriages,” the highest court in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has reversed a lower court’s censure of lesbian clergywoman Jane Spahr, who performed the rites in California.
“The Church’s Unfinished Sexual Revolution” was the title of an article in the spring 2006 issue of Yale Divinity School’s Reflections magazine. In it longtime Christian ethicist James B. Nelson described some progress in church thinking about sexual ethics, but contended that the church’s agenda on sexuality remains “confusing, unsettled, unfinished.”
A United Methodist congregation in Washington, D.C., the church attended by President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton, has changed its policy to recognize—but not “celebrate”—same-gender partnerships.
Expressing their “passionate desire” to remain a full partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion, U.S. Episcopal bishops late last month essentially reiterated an earlier statement of their intent to “exercise restraint” regarding the consecration of more gay bishops and to stand firm against authorizing public blessings of same-sex unions.
A United Church of Christ congregation’s pro-gay stance puts it “at a higher risk” of litigation and property damage, a leading U.S. church insurer said in refusing to offer coverage to a Michigan congregation.
Maryland’s highest court has delivered the latest blow to supporters of same-sex marriage rights, narrowly ruling that the Maryland Constitution does not confer upon gays the right to marry each other.
A sharply divided Maryland Court of Appeals ruled September 18 that a 1973 state law that bans gay marriage does not violate the Maryland Constitution’s equal-rights provisions.
In a clear rebuff to conservatives in the global Anglican Communion, Episcopal Church leaders have rejected a September 30 deadline set by overseas Anglicans to roll back their church’s pro-gay policies, arguing that such decisions can be made only at the U.S. church’s triennial conventions—the next one being in 2009.