Leaders of the Anglican Church have strongly denounced a liberal bishop in Canada for authorizing what amounts to the church's first gay wedding, The [Sydney] Daily Telegraph reports. Evangelical leaders have demanded firm action against the Reverend Michael Ingham, bishop of New Westminster, after he issued a rite for same-sex blessings in his diocese in western Canada. Anglicanism's first officially sanctioned same-sex blessing took place on Thursday night in St. Margaret's Church in Vancouver after Bishop Ingham published the rite.
According to CBC News British Columbia, the historic exchange of vows marked the 21-year relationship between Michael Kalmuk, 49, and Kelly Montfort, 62. Kalmuk, who is a lifelong Christian, says it was an important moment for the two men. "This is a big part of our life," he says. "God has been in my life since the first day and will be with me and Kelly until the end of his life."
The issue of same-sex blessings has created a major rift in the New Westminster diocese. Eight of the 80 parishes have withdrawn their financial support for the diocese and refuse to recognize Bishop Ingham's authority.