Reporting on Marriage Vote at General Convention

In a respectful debate, set in the context of prayer, deputies of widely varied opinions shared freely in the discussion.

The House of Deputies concurred with a vote of the House of Bishops to approve two resolutions related to same sex marriages. After a respectful debate, set in the context of prayer, changes were approved for both Resolution A052 and A036.

About the Resolutions Approved
Resolution A052 is focused on liturgy and making liturgy available. It builds on the work of the last Convention, which made some materials available for use in dioceses where the materials were permissible by the bishop. This resolution calls for the updated rites to be available church-wide for “trial use.” Ultimately, this is a process that can lead to inclusion in approved texts for use alongside the BCP or in a future revision of the BCP. At the earliest, these liturgies will not be official until 2018. That will require they be voted on again, without change, by the next General Convention. The language of the resolution preserves the right of a bishop to choose not to use the rites, but also ensures that such bishops will provide people with access to them via another route. This upholds the church-wide intent of the trial use path.

Resolution A036 involved a rewording of church canons around marriage. Most notably, and creating the most controversy, the canonical change removes the specific definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Other canonical changes seek to bring the theology in line with the 1979 BCP theology, and strengthen the Declaration of Intent that couples must sign before they are married.

Diocese of Georgia Votes
After convention, additional communication will be provided on the votes. The following is a high-level breakdown of the Diocese of Georgia votes:

• In the House of Bishops, the Bishop voted in favor of the liturgical rites and abstained on the canonical change, which counts as a single no vote.
• In the House of Deputies, Clergy Deputation voted 3-1 in favor of both resolutions, which counts as a single yes vote.
• The Lay Deputation voted 2-2 and was recorded as a divided vote, which counts as a single no vote.

The overall vote on the liturgical rites (A054) was Clergy 94 in favor, 12 against, and 2 divided; Lay 90 in favor, 11 against, and 3 divided. For the canonical change (A036) was Clergy 85 in favor, 15 against, and 6 divided; Lay 88 in favor, 12 against, and 6 divided.

These resolutions become effective the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015. The resolutions affirm the Bishop’s authority to determine which trial use rites will be authorized for use in the Diocese of Georgia. The conscience of all clergy is protected. No clergy are required to officiate at any same sex marriage. The conversation does not end here. The trial use rites will come back for further approval during the next General Convention. There is still much that needs to be reviewed. The Bishop plans to work with his Chancellor and other Diocesan leaders to determine the next steps for the Diocese of Georgia. Please be on the lookout for further communication.


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