Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island Supports Marriage Equality

The new Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island has shared his support for marriage equality, as that state is considering such legislation. According to the Rhode Island Future, Bishop Nicholas Knisely supports marriage equality, and will change a diocesan policy to allow priests to bless same-gender couples.

This last summer, The Episcopal Church approved a rite of blessing for same-gender couples, however the practice must be allowed by bishops in individual dioceses. Bishop Knisely will be changing the policy by allowing the blessings to take place. However, he does require individual congregations to have a discussion and make a formal decision about performing weddings and blessing for same-gender couples.

It should be noted that the rite approved by The Episcopal Church is a blessing, and not a marriage. It may be used in states where legal marriage for same-gender couples is not yet available to ask for a blessing upon the couple, but has no legal binding.

Bishop Knisely is also in talks with a religious coalition supporting marriage equality. Besides his personal support, he wants to determine The Episcopal Church in Rhode Island can play a role supporting marriage equality in the state.