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The Anglican Church/Church of England and gay rights, marriage equality


Where Do Religions Stand on Marriage Equality

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Marriage Equality and Religion

The Pew Research Center has a great chart on where the major religions are these days on marriage equality.

Pew reports:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) plans to hold a historic vote on same-sex marriage this week that could reverberate beyond the church’s nearly 2 million members. Church leaders gathering in Detroit are expected to decide as early as today whether to allow gay marriage or to continue to prohibit it, a move some Christian leaders believe could influence other centrist and liberal mainline Protestant churches as they also grapple with the issue. In the last two decades, several religious groups have moved to allow same-sex couples to marry within their traditions. This includes the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Will the Presbyterians come around tomorrow?

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UK: Same-Sex Marriage Dawns, Equality Fight Continues

Sunday, April 6th, 2014
Warren Hartley and Kieran Bohan sign the Schedule of Civil Partnership at Ullet Unitarian Church in Liverpool

FIRST FOR EQUALITY: My partner and I become legally recognised as a couple on May 6th 2012 – the first time a civil partnership was registered in a place of worship in the UK.
PHOTO: Simply Perfection

THE CLOCKS WENT FORWARD in the UK last weekend, in more ways than one. The official start of British Summer Time with daylight saving coincided with the legalisation of same-sex marriages in England and Wales. So began an extraordinary week for LGBT equality.

On Saturday March 29th, lesbian and gay couples around the country vied to be the first to be legally married, with several timing their services as close to midnight as possible:

NEWS: Same-sex marriage now legal as first couples wed

An estimated 70 couples across England and Wales took advantage of the change in law on Saturday, and the media was filled with mostly positive portrayals of this landmark for equality.

A BBC survey revealed that 80% of people would attend a gay wedding if invited (though their headline focussed on the negative responses:

NEWS: Gay weddings: ‘Fifth of Britons would turn down invitation’

Twitter feeds filled with supportive messages from celebrities. Actor and comedian Les Dennis tweeted:

Sadly it was not all good news.

Click to continue »

Uganda: Anglican Bishop Provides Haven for Gays

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Reverend Christopher Senyonjo

Photo by Michael Key

And now for our Hero of the week – an Anglican Bishop in Uganda who is standing up to the country’s harsh new anti gay law.

The Washington Blade reports:

Rev. Christopher Senyonjo’s makeshift church in the Ugandan capital of Kampala has attracted many gays who are familiar with his sympathetic views in a country where anti-gay religious fervor has encouraged public anger and violence against homosexuals. The AP reports: “They said I should condemn the homosexuals,” he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. “I can’t do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church.”…

“Our relationship is one of giving support to each other. The backlash that we receive is equally the same,” said Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent gay leader in Uganda, who added that Senyonjo has taken “a very courageous and brave stand.”

If only more men and women of faith in Africa would stand up for the oppressed LGBT community there. Kudos to Reverend Senyonjo.

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UK: One Third of Church of England Bishops Gay?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

England ChurchAn Anglican with the Church of England claims a huge percentage of the church’s Bishops are gay.

Queerty reports:

Same-sex marriage is set to kick into gear on March 29th in England and Wales, and it’s stirring conversation on both sides of the issue. Religious leaders are for the most part doing what they do best — staunchly opposing progress. But it looks like the Church of England may be even more hypocritical than usual when it comes to gays tying the knot. According to one Anglican clergyman’s account on The Daily Beast, at least 14 of the church’s 42 Bishops — one third — are gay, though none have publicly come out.

Wow. I’d love to see the same statistics for the Catholic hierarchy!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

What the world needs now…

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Is love, sRed Square, Russiaweet love. It’s the only thing, that there’s just too little of.” These song lyrics from the 1970s came to mind as I was watching the news this evening as details emerge from the Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula and takeover of Ukrainian space is a dramatic and dangerous shift in Realpolitik in a part of the world that has seen more than its fair share of instability through the twentieth century. What NATO does next, and how the Russians respond to the financial aid packages that will begin flowing into Ukraine are yet to be determined. The events in Ukraine constitute a growing international crisis that has people all over western Europe.

It seems as if it were only a few weeks ago that LGBT activists were clamoring all over the social media spectrum about the Olympic games in Sochi, and how we fully expected the athletes or journalists to protest. No such protests emerged. Even Vladimir Putin gushed to the world about how well the games went and how no protests or rallies broke out. What these two events have in common is that the Russian government has swiftly changed the conversation from the games in Sochi to the rapidly changing events in Ukraine. What they don’t want to talk about with the world is their LGBT community and the fact that their anti-LGBT legislation has not gone away.

Likewise, the government in Uganda has passed a bill that criminalizes homosexuality and provides for tough sanctions against the LGBT community. No, the laws are not as draconian as Iran in which LGBT people are executed when caught. However, a life sentence in a Ugandan prison is the equivalent of a death sentence. Gay men are being rounded up, tortured, and killed solely for being gay. To intensify the problems facing the LGBT community there, the Ugandan Anglican church stands in support of the law and has threatened to split from the mainline Anglican communion.

Other nations have laws as harsh as Russia and Uganda. Other nations have cracked down on LGBT organizations and have denegrated our community to the fringes of society. It is for that reason, that our fight in Pennsylvania is even more important. We have to remain forever a beacon to the world. We have to remain a place of freedom and liberty. When we fight to spread love, we are fighting against the injustice inflicted on others in Uganda and Russia.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,

No, not just for some but for everyone.

Australia: Western Australian Anglicans Back Civil Unions

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Australia MapThe Anglican Church in Western Australia just voted to support civil unions for same sex couples.

Gay Star News reports:

The Synod of the Anglican Church of Western Australia has passed a motion saying that gay civil unions can co-exist with heterosexual marriages – backing same-sex couples having their relationships legally recognized. Rector of Darlington-Bellevue Anglican parish, the Reverend Chris Bedding told ABC News he had not been confident that his motion would pass but it was backed by more than the two-thirds majority needed for it to pass.

Yes, it’s only civil unions. But OTOH, it’s a religious organization saying yes to the recognition of same sex relationships. Big deal or not?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Australia.

Churches in New Zealand, USA Consider Marrying Same-Sex Couples

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Gay Wedding RingsSeveral churches are considering allowing their priests to marry same-sex couples.In New Zealand, the Anglican Church may allow the practice by 2016, according to one Reverend.

Gay Star News reports:

St Matthew’s in the City’s the Reverend Clay Nelson says he expects a majority of Anglicans in New Zealand will support same-sex couples being allowed to marry in their churches by 2016. He made the comments to after a motion at a meeting of the Anglican Synod backing same-sex marriage was barely defeated. ‘I do believe it will eventually pass, I hope no later than 2016,’ Rev. Nelson said.

In the US, a United Methodist Tribunal is considering the same issue.

Gay Star News reports:

The United Methodist Judicial Council will decide late October if its clergy and local church regions can hold different opinions on the issues of homosexuality and marriage and will also decide the fate of four priests who have been charged with marrying same-sex couples. A 1972 rule in the United Methodist Church’s internal law book states, ‘The UMC does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching,’ and bars its clergy from officiating same-sex marriages but many United Methodist churches have been doing so anyway.

What started with small groups of supportive clergy is now making its way into the mainstream of these church organizations. And that’s a good thing.

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UK: Head of Anglican Church Admits Position Against Marriage Equality Seen As “Wicked”

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Anglican Archbishop Justin WelbyWhile he stopped far short of endorsing marriage equality, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby acknowledged that he understands young people do not share his views on marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

‘If the same thing happened again I would vote the same way as I did then but I am continuing to think and listen very carefully as to how in our society today we respond to what is the most rapid cultural change in this area than there has been for a very long time. We have seen changes in the idea about sexuality, sexual behaviour. We have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 not only think that what we’re saying is incomprehensible but also think that we’re plain wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice. We have to be real about that.’

Maybe there’s room here for an eventual change of heart?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK: Gay Couple May Sue Church of England Over Wedding Ban

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

UK ChurchAfter the UK passed the marriage equality bill last month with what’s been described as a quadruple lock to keep gays and lesbians from marrying in the Church of England, a gay couple is mulling challenging that ban. The Huffington Post reports:

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 — millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. — have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child… they plan to sue the Church of England to get married there. “I want to go to my church and marry my husband,” said Drewitt-Barlow in an interview published Friday (Aug. 2). “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.”

I’m of two minds about this one. On the one hand, I’m not sure we should be forcing churches to open their doors for us. Secular businesses, yes, but churches are a different thing. But on the other hand, in this case, it’s not the church, per se, that’s banning same sex weddings – it’s the law that specifically says this one church organization can’t marry same sex couples. What happens if the church decides it wants to? What do you think?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

New Zealand: Church Backs Out of Same Sex Wedding, Cites Policy

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

St. Matthew's in the City - Auckland - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

An Anglican Church that was slated to host one of the first same sex weddings in the country has backed out, according to Pink News:

St Matthew’s in the City vicar Glynn Cardy said the decision to not hold the wedding came down to policy. He said: “And that policy says that the marriage between a same-gender couple can’t happen inside St Matthew’s church, can’t be taken by an Anglican priest within St Matthew’s church.” He went on to say that the policy is discriminatory and that he is committed to working towards changing it. “I’ve got a motion before the Auckland Synod in September that is asking the synod to engage with that and then we’d see what happens at general synod in May 2014,” he continued.

The wedding will go on in another venue, although it may be preceded by a planned Air New Zealand wedding.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Zealand.