Thank you to my friend David Jones for inspiring me to write this story. Continuing its tradition of being one of the most supportive mainline Christian denominations, the Episcopal Church took two significant actions this week. The church is holding its 77th General Convention in Indianapolis and addressed both same-sex unions and transgender rights.
As with the President and the nation, the church is still evolving on marriage equality. This week’s action stops short of blessing marriage for same-sex couples. It does, however, create a liturgy for blessing monogamous unions between two people of the same sex, something they have never done before. This is an important step toward embracing full equality in the church. Significantly, over 70% of the Bishops and members of the House of Deputies voted in favor of the measure.
The Convention also overwhelmingly approved two changes to its Nondiscrimination Canons. These add “gender identity and expression” to the Canons. The action effectively makes it illegal within the church to bar from the priesthood people who were born into one gender and live as another or who do not identify themselves as male or female. The Episcopal Church is now one of a handful the expressly support the ordination of transgender priests.
Whatever one’s individual faith or lack thereof, the LGBT community needs support from all quarters. Allies of faith are one important community in the larger conversation. Congratulations to the Episcopal Church for this week’s loud shout of support.