The District of Columbia in the USA recently became the sixth jurisdiction in the USA to enact a change to its civil marriage laws, to permit same-sex couples to get married. The five others are New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont.
The law went into effect this week, after the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court declined to order a delay.
Episcopal Bishop: Priests may preside at civil marriages in D. C.
Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Washington may preside at civil same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia under guidelines released today by Bishop John Bryson Chane. No priest is required to preside at such ceremonies.
“Through the grace of Holy Baptism, there are no second class members of the Body of Christ, “ Chane said. “We are of equal value in the eyes of God, and any one of us may be called by the Holy Spirit into holy relationships as well as Holy Orders.”
At its General Convention in July, the Episcopal Church granted bishops with jurisdiction where civil same-sex marriage is legal the discretion to “provide generous pastoral responses to meet the needs of members of this church.” Chane joins bishops in Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts in permitting clergy to preside at civil same-sex marriages. Diocesan clergy in Washington have long been permitted to offer liturgical blessings to same-sex couples.
Chane’s guidelines do not specify what rites clergy may use when officiating at a civil marriage. “I would prefer to work that out in consultation with the clergy who will be performing these services,” he said…
For more background, see the ENS report by Mary Frances Schjonberg WASHINGTON: Priests may preside at civil marriages in D.C.