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The Episcopal Church Says “YES” to Ordination for Gays

On July 14, LGBT leaders in The Episcopal Church proclaimed, ”Amen,” as the decades of struggle of ordination for gay people came to an end.  The House of Delegates and the House of Bishops voted to allow ordination of gay and lesbian priests and bishops.  All affirmed that God could call to ordination anyone, including people living in a same-sex marriage or partnership.

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The Episcopal Church House of Bishops supported inclusion by a 99-45 vote, with two abstentions and it was overwhelmingly ratified by the House of Delegates comprised of laity and priests. The new resolution officially ends a 2006 moratorium on ordaining openly gay bishops.  The moratorium was initially meant to halt any further division within the church after the ordination of Gene Robinson but unity was not maintained and no efforts for unity were offered by conservatives.

Earlier this year conservatives, now identifying themselves as the Anglican Church of America and claiming 100,000 followers, abandoned The Episcopal Church while unsuccessfully laying claim to buildings belonging to The Episcopal Church.  The group’s leader, Robert Duncan, said that women and gay people are not “capable” of holding the office of bishop. The breakaway group is not recognized by the greater Anglican Communion.

One time LGBT supporter, Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, did not support lifting the moratorium, but delegates voted yes on all inclusive resolutions so far. One delegate from Western Massachusetts told the Associated Press that it was the right thing to do, "I personally believe we had to do this. It's the way we see the Gospel." Archbishop Williams met with gay and lesbian deputies while at the convention but expressed regret over the decision.

The bishops will vote on resolutions related to blessing same-sex unions, transgender equality and adaptation of theological resources and liturgies to be more inclusive of gay and lesbian couples.