The Episcopal Church has provisionally approved a union rite for same-sex couples and a nondiscrimination policy that covers transgender people.
At the denomination’s General Convention, being held in Indianapolis, the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music Committee today passed a resolution authorizing provisional use of the rite for blessing same-sex relationships beginning December 2, according to the Episcopal News Service. It now goes to the church’s House of Bishops for further action. There would be further review of the rite before the next General Convention, scheduled for 2015.
“This is clearly a work in process, and there is a place in that process for all Episcopalians, whether or not they agree with the action we are taking today,” Deputy Ruth Meyers of Chicago and Vermont bishop Thomas Ely, chairs of the subcommittee on blessings, said in a press release. Some Episcopal clergy currently perform same-sex unions but must get the language for such ceremonies approved by their bishops; the resolution would standardize the language.
On Saturday the House of Bishops approved adding “gender identity and expression” to the church’s nondiscrimination policy. The move, which still needs approval by the denomination’s House of Deputies, would enable transgender people to be ordained as clergy and would prohibit discrimination against them as church members.