Statement on Supreme Court Decision

A statement from Bishop Benhase on the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriages

From the Bishop of Georgia

Today the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling on same sex marriage, making a way for same sex couples in all states to marry. I rejoice in this decision in that it grants a basic civil right to all couples under our civil law. The Court has determined that our Constitution requires that the government must treat all couples equally, regardless of sexual orientation. A civil right, nonetheless, is not the same as a sacramental rite. Our General Convention is currently discussing how we will respond as The Episcopal Church.

Until our Church discerns how we will proceed, the guidelines I put forward in the fall of 2012 are still in effect, but with a few changes. Same sex couples may now get legally married by the local civil authority and then come to the Church for a blessing upon their relationship. In my previous guidelines, I required each congregation’s vestry to endorse these blessings if they were to be done on church property. Presbyters, however, were free to provide such blessings without vestry endorsement if they were to be offered elsewhere. This guideline is still in effect. My rationale for maintaining such endorsement is the basic reality that faithful people can and will come to different conclusions about the Church’s role in blessing same sex marriages. However, creating divisions among clergy and lay leadership in a congregation serves no useful purpose for God’s mission.

After General Convention is over, I will write more to the Diocese of Georgia on the decisions that we make here. I continue to hope that faithful Georgia Episcopalians can view whatever differences we have in light of the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of all, and whose resurrection promises eternal life for all who place their trust in him.





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