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Again demonstrating that it provides a good alternative for gay Catholics who remain burdened by a hypocrisy-filled, stridently anti-gay Church hierarchy, the Episcopal Church now allows same sex couples to marry in their home parish even if the local diocese remains homophobic. I have long advised LGBT individuals raised in homophobic religious traditions to walk away and, if they feel compelled to still go to church, to find an LGBT friendly denomination. Having been raised Catholic, I know too well the soul killing atmosphere of Catholicism. I opted to leave the Catholic Church and after a stint as an Episcopalian, found a church home in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. UPI looks at this development in the Episcopal Church. Here are highlights:
The Episcopal Church removed restrictions on same-sex marriage, a move that allows all couples to wed where they worship, even if their bishop disapproves.
The action came out of discussions at the General Convention, which wrapped up its triennial meeting in Austin, Texas, on Friday.
Same-sex couples are already allowed to marry across most Episcopal Churches in the United States, but a few U.S. dioceses had not permitted religious wedding ceremonies for this type union.
Friday's decision overrides previous decisions by local dioceses to not allow the liturgies, which currently includes eight of the of the nation's 101 Episcopal dioceses -- Albany, N.Y.; Central Florida; Dallas; Florida; North Dakota; Springfield, Ill.; Tennessee; and the Virgin Islands.
No one spoke against the resolution during a short debate by the House of Deputies, the news service affiliated with the Episcopal Church said.
The Rev. Scot McComas, a deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, had told his colleagues if they passed the resolution they would be acting as pastors to all the people of the Episcopal Church.
"For 40 years our LGBT brothers and sisters have been at the back of the bus and, every so often, they are invited to move forward one row at a time," McComas said. The resolution, while being designed to allow same-sex couples to be married in the church, also does not alienate traditionalists.
Dallas Bishop George Sumner told The Dallas Morning News if the circumstance should arise in his diocese, he would reach out to a neighboring bishop to oversee the ceremony, something that is allowed under the resolution. "We're probably more traditional than other dioceses in the Episcopal Church," Sumner said. "The convention has given us a space to do that."
"It also preserves the ministry of bishops as chief pastors and teachers in our dioceses," Bauerschmidt said. "We will be working out what it means for our diocese with clergy and congregations in the coming days."