Tag Archives: same – sex marriage

Anglican stance on same-sex marriage ‘morally contemptible’, says gay cleric

Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, accuses Rowan Williams of hardening the Church of England’s attitude to gay marriage

Rev Jeffrey John, dean of St Albans

The most senior openly gay cleric in Britain has accused the Church of England of pursuing a “morally contemptible” policy on same-sex marriage, denouncing it for moving “in the opposite direction” to society and criticising Rowan Williams for changing his “public position” on the issue as soon as he was made Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a new preface to his 1990 booklet on gay relationships, Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, writes that, by setting themselves against same-sex marriage, the bishops of the Church have prioritised the union of the Anglican communion over the rights of gay Christians.

“This policy may be institutionally expedient, but it is morally contemptible,” he writes in an abridged extract of the preface published in the Guardian. “Worst of all, by appeasing their persecutors it betrays the truly heroic gay Christians of Africa who stand up for justice and truth at risk of their lives. For the mission of the Church of England the present policy is a disaster.”

John writes that, contrary to the expectations of those who had expected Williams to introduce a new tone in the Church’s stance on homosexuality, the Church’s line has in fact “continued to harden” during his near-decade as Archbishop of Canterbury.

John – who was forced to withdraw his appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 due to fury from conservative evangelicals – says that as Archbishop of Wales Williams had made the case for an ethical framework for gay relationships. “Tragically, he changed his public position as soon as he reached the throne of St Augustine,” he adds. “Since then the Church’s line has continued to harden.”

In Permanent, Faithful, Stable, republished this week as Anglicans prepare for a stormy autumn of debate over same sex marriage, John outlines the theological case for gay people in stable and faithful relationships to be offered the same recognition as heterosexual couples. While superficially there is “little difference”, he writes, between civil partnership and marriage, the official distinction “helps perpetuate a distinction in status”.

via The Guardian.

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August 10: Andrew Sullivan

b. August 10, 1963

Andrew Sullivan is an author and journalist who regularly appears on national television and whose commentary is featured in major national publications. He is a leading advocate of same-sex marriage.

The most successful marriages, gay or straight, even if they begin in romantic love, often become friendships. It’s the ones that become the friendships that last.”

Andrew Sullivan was born in South Godstone, a small town in southern England, in 1963. After earning a B.A. in modern history from Oxford University he received a fellowship to study at Harvard University, where he earned a masters degree in public administration and a Ph.D. in government.
In 1986, he began at The New Republic (TNR) and in 1991, he was named the magazine’s editor, the youngest in its history. In the five years Sullivan was at the helm, the magazine’s circulation grew and advertising revenues increased. Sullivan expanded TNR’s sphere beyond politics to cover such cultural topics as same-sex marriage and affirmative action. He created a stir by publishing excerpts from the controversial study on race and IQ, The Bell Curve.
In the 1990’s Sullivan became known for his writing on gay issues. His article “The Politics of Homosexuality” has been called the most influential article of the decade in gay rights. Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality was the first book to advocate civil marriage rights for gay couples. Sullivan also publishedLove Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival and edited a reader,Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con.
As a practicing Catholic, Sullivan has challenged the Roman Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality. In Virtually Normal he takes the position that the Bible forbids homosexuality only when it is linked to prostitution or pagan ritual.
Sullivan started his blog, The Daily Dish, in 2000. His articles have appeared in The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Postand Esquire. He is a regular guest on The Chris Matthews Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360°, Meet The Press, Face the Nation, Nightline, NPR’s Fresh Airand Larry King Live.

Bibliography:

Selected works by Andrew Sullivan:

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Townsend, other Md. Catholics to push same-sex marriage – Maryland Politics – The Washington Post

The group leading Maryland’s same-sex marriage campaign is highlighting Catholic supporters, including former lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D).

Gov. Martin O’Malley, center, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, right, after O’Malley signed Maryland’s same-sex marriage law in March. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Gov. Martin O’Malley, center, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, right, after O’Malley signed Maryland’s same-sex marriage law in March. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Townsend, a member of one of the most prominent Catholic families in American politics, is scheduled to appear at a news conference Tuesday morning in Baltimore, alongside parents of gay children.

The Maryland Catholic Conference, the official lobby for the church, was among the more vocal opponents of Maryland’s same-sex marriage legislation this year and is also working for its repeal in the November election. Among other arguments, the group stresses the importance of having both fathers and mothers in children’s lives.

But Catholics are not of one voice on the issue in a state where the church played a central role in its founding.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who sponsored this year’s same-sex marriage bill, is a practicing Catholic. He has argued that all families should have the same legal rights. House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) also broke with the church in shepherding the legislation through his chamber.

More recently, both O’Malley and Busch have appeared at fundraisers to benefit Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the group hosting the news conference Tuesday in Baltimore.

full report – The Washington Post.

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Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts to allow clergy to bless gay couples

Starting in December, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts will let clergy bless gay couples, a change announced after a national Episcopalian convention this month approved a new rite for same-sex relationships.

The diocese will continue to forbid clergy from performing gay marriages, something its Eastern Massachusetts counterpart allows. But in an interview last week, the incoming Western Massachusetts bishop said he plans on asking worshipers whether they want to revisit the prohibition.

By a wide margin, Episcopalians at this month’s national General Convention approved a new rite blessing same-sex relationships. Each diocese in the country can decide whether to perform the blessing.

Following the convention, the Diocese of Western Massachusetts announced it would give parishes the option to perform the same-sex blessing.

Bishop-elect Douglas John Fisher, who will succeed Bishop Gordon Paul Scruton in December, called the resolution “a big move in the right direction.”

“This is a great development for our gay brothers and sisters, and we hope to celebrate that with them starting in December,” Fisher said in an interview.

While the new ritual will not constitute nuptials, Fisher left open the possibility the diocese may ultimately approve gay marriage, following the lead of the Eastern Massachusetts diocese, which sanctioned such services in 2009.

“When I get there, I’ll certainly be having those conversations,” said Fisher, currently rector of Grace Church in Millbrook, N.Y. “We’ll see where all of that leads.”

– full report at  The Boston Globe.

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Cardinal Calls for Gay Marriage Referendum

THE Catholic Church will today intensify pressure on Alex Salmond over same-sex marriage by calling for a referendum on the proposals, before the First Minister’s flagship independence vote.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has attacked SNP plans.

The leader of Scotland’s Catholics, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has warned the First Minister that “far more people” are concerned about same-sex ceremonies than independence.

A spokesman for the Church told The Herald it wanted a public vote on the issue before a referendum on independence.

Ministers are expected to announce proposals for gay marriage after a Cabinet meeting tomorrow. They are under intense pressure from opponents, including campaign groups and churches. More than 27,000 people have signed a petition against the plans.

However, the First Minister is facing calls from many within his own party to press ahead with the proposals. At the weekend Jim Eadie, the SNP Edinburgh Southern MSP, said: “The message to the Scottish Government should be: ‘Stand firm, hold your nerve.'”

Muslim leaders and the Catholic Church have denounced the plans and accused Scottish ministers of offering “worthless” assurances over opt-outs.

Cardinal O’Brien, who has previously described the proposals as madness, specifically linked gay marriage and independence in a statement last night calling for a referendum.

He pointed out that almost 80,000 people responded to an official consultation on same-sex marriage while 26,000 have responded to the one on independence.

Cardinal O’Brien said: “The Scottish Government’s consultation on redefining marriage had three times more respondents than the consultation on the constitution, demonstrating clearly that far more people are concerned about fundamental matters of morality at the present time.

“Clearly, if it is sensible to hold a referendum on independence, it is crucial we have one on marriage. It is the only way the country can move forward on this issue. Let all those who have a view on this subject place their trust in the Scottish people and let Scotland decide.”

-full report at   Herald Scotland.

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U.S. Presbyterian Church at crossroads over gay marriage | Reuters

Midwestern minister Greg Smith is considering an act of ecclesiastical disobedience.

Deeply sympathetic to gay rights since his son, Matty, came out as gay a decade ago, the lifelong Presbyterian told his son he will officiate at his wedding, defying church policy.

“I believe that we’re doing more harm than good prolonging the inevitable,” said Smith, who at 64 is retired but still ministers in Des Moines, Iowa.

“On this issue, there is no mechanism for pastors to express conscientious objection without either defying church authority or demitting from one’s pastoral call. And that’s extremely stressful and distressing.”

Like many other denominations, the Presbyterian Church(U.S.A.), the 10th largest U.S. religion according to the National Council of Churches, is in the grips of a crisis over gay marriage.

The 2.7-million-strong church has lost about 500,000 members over the last decade, and church leaders fear that an endorsement of same-sex marriage could spur an exodus of Christians who view it as incompatible with biblical teachings.

But failing to act could mean the church is viewed as irrelevant and homophobic by young and progressive members.

Earlier this month at its General Assembly, a gathering held every two years, church leaders rejected a constitutional change, by a vote of 338-308, that would have defined marriage as between two people, rather than a man and a woman.

Some have said the church was moving too fast. Just two years ago, the church agreed to open the ranks of its clergy to homosexuals, prompting dozens of congregations to split off to join more conservative denominations or to form their own.

“The Assembly was trying to hold together a broken church with both hands, trying to honor people on both ends of the spectrum who feel pain around the issues of marriage,” said Reverend Aimee Moiso, who led the assembly’s committee on marriage.

“But we did manage something miraculous: In a polarized church and nation, we spent several days trying to figure out a way to stay together across our divisions,” she said.

– more at Reuters.

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Cardinal Keith O’Brien declares war on gay marriage

Leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholic Church has promised an ‘unprecedented backlash’ if marriage equality is legalized

08 JULY 2012 | BY JOE MORGAN

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the man that compared legalizing gay marriage with bringing back slavery, has declared war.

The leader of Scottish Roman Catholic Church has warned of an unprecedented backlash if Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister, presses ahead with plans to legalize gay marriage.

The Sunday Times reports O’Brien has revealed a strongly-worded letter to be read out on 26 August, on a day he calls ‘Support Marriage Sunday’, in each of the church’s 500 Scottish parishes.

It will urge Catholics to donate money to help fund a £100,000 advertising campaign against the plans.

O’Brien said: ‘Marriage is under threat and politicians need to know the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meeting any cost in its defense.’

‘We will use this opportunity to remind Catholics of the importance of marriage as a union of a man and a woman and to urge them to be generous in contributing to a special collection which will be used to support initiatives in defense of marriage,’ he added.

Scotland’s ministers will announce the results of the wide spreading consultation this month, with a finalized bill likely to appear by 2013.

Unlike England and Wales’ legislation, it is planned Scottish churches will be able to bless gay unions but would be free to opt-out.

A Catholic Church spokesman said: ‘This is a straight-forward plan by the church to up the stakes in the war on gay marriage.’

In a recent Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, there was 61% support for the legislation and just 19% opposition.

via Gay Star News.

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Clegg joins campaign for gay marriage in church

The fight for gay equality won a boost today after Nick Clegg revealed he will push for same-sex marriages in church.

The deputy prime minister told the Evening Standard that religious organisations should have the choice to hold same-sex weddings if they wanted.

“I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage,” he said.

The comment takes the prime minister’s promise to legalise gay civil marriages one step further. Under the present consultation on gay marriage there is no option for willing churches to be able to hold same-sex ceremonies.

Yesterday, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper held a conference in Westminster with leaders from the Quakers, Church of England and liberal Jews to push for gay marriages in church.

“I have a very strong sensation that once the dust settles everyone will look back and think, ‘what on earth was the controversy about?'” Clegg said.

“It just seems a perfectly natural thing to do. I don’t think it is anything to get hot under the collar about, or aggressive or polemical.”

However, the topic is still causing deep rifts within religious organisations and Tory MPs.

Canon Chris Sugden of the pressure group Anglican Mainstream said: “If you remove gender from marriage, then nobody ends up married.”

– Politics UK.

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‘Rethink line on divorce and gays’

The Church must rethink its approach to remarried divorcees and gay relationships, the world’s youngest cardinal has said.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, 55, made his comments in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit and said that while the Orthodox Church considers only the first marriage sacramentally valid, divorce and a second marriage is tolerated. Asked whether this could be a model for the Catholic Church, he replied that the Church should talk about it.

Commenting on gay men in relationships he said he tried not to see them as just violating natural law but as people trying to take responsibility for each other in lasting partnerships. “We must find a way of allowing people to live without going against church teaching,” he said.

The Tablet

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Gene Robinson: Gay Marriage is God’s Work

The Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop on Saturday told several hundred Presbyterians committed to advancing gay equality issues that their work soon could pay off.

“This is hard work, but we can do it because it is worthy work and it is Godly work,” Bishop Gene Robinson, 65, of New Hampshire told those attending a dinner hosted by More Light Presbyterians, a pro-gay rights group of the Presbyterian Church (USA), in the Westin Convention Center Hotel, Downtown. “We will live to see the day that the church of Jesus Christ, in whatever form it is, will repent from what it has done to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the way it has repented for slavery.”

The Presbyterian Church (USA), the country’s largest Presbyterian group with 1.95 million members, is holding its 220th General Assembly in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, through Saturday.

Various proposals concerning gay marriage could lead to contentious debate within the Louisville-based Protestant denomination.

Robinson, who plans to retire next year, said he finds inspiration from the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He called what is happening now in the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches “holy chaos.” Gay equality work in both denominations has caused a sense of confusion, which he called a step forward from the certainty that most Christians felt when it came to what God and churches thought of homosexuals.

Christian history teaches that standing for the right thing often comes with a price, Robinson said.

“So the real question for your church and mine is this,” he said, “If you’re not in trouble for the gospel you preach, is it really the gospel?”

TribLIV£

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