[Acts of Convention Banner image] /Home About the Acts of Convention Copyright The Digital Record Search Help
Limit Search by Date
  
         

Resolution Number: 1979-A053
Title: Recommend Guidelines on the Ordination of Homosexuals
Legislative Action Taken: Concurred As Substituted and Amended
Final Text:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 66th General Convention receive with gratitude and appreciation the Report and Recommendations of its Standing Commission on Human Affairs and Health with special reference to the requested study of the matter of ordination of homosexual persons; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention recommend to Bishops, Pastors, Vestries, Commissions on Ministry and Standing Committees, the following considerations as they continue to exercise their proper canonical functions in the selection and approval of persons for ordination:

  1. There are many human conditions, some of them in the area of sexuality, which bear upon a person's suitability for ordination;
  2. Every ordinand is expected to lead a life which is "a wholesome example to all people" (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 517, 532, 544). There should be no barrier to the ordination of qualified persons of either heterosexual or homosexual orientation whose behavior the Church considers wholesome;
  3. We re-affirm the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage, marital fidelity and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality. Candidates for ordination are expected to conform to this standard. Therefore, we believe it is not appropriate for this Church to ordain a practicing homosexual, or any person who is engaged in heterosexual relations outside of marriage.
Citation: General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of...The Episcopal Church, Denver, 1979 (New York: General Convention, 1980), p. C-93.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Author: The Standing Commission on Human Affairs and Health
Originating House: House of Bishops
Originating Committee: Committee on Ministry

House of Bishops

On the eighth day, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Chairman of the Committee on Ministry, moved the adoption of Report #26 (A-53 Substitute).

The motion was seconded by Bishop Gordon.

The Chairman of Dispatch of Business moved that the House go into a Committee of the Whole for discussion on the Resolution before the House for a maximum period of one hour.

The motion was seconded by the Bishop of Albany.

Motion carried

The Chairman of Dispatch of Business moved the House rise from a Committee of the Whole.

The motion was seconded by Bishop Gibson.

Motion to rise carried

Bishop Gross moved to amend the Resolution before the House as follows:

In place of paragraph 2 of the Substitute Resolution, substitute paragraph 3 of A-53. Delete the last sentence of paragraph 3 of the Resolution before the House.

The amendment was seconded by the Bishop of Idaho.

The Bishop of Oklahoma moved that the two sections of the amendment be divided.

The motion was seconded by the Bishop of Western Massachusetts.

Motion to divide carried

After discussion the Bishop Suffragan of Texas moved the previous question.

The motion was seconded by Bishop Millard.

Motion carried

Bishop Gross' motion to substitute paragraph 3 of A-53 for paragraph 2 of the Committee Report was defeated.

Substitution failed

The Bishop of Western Michigan moved a substitute to the amendment that would delete the last sentence of paragraph 3 and moved that all of paragraph 3 be deleted from the Resolution.

The substitute was seconded by the Bishop of Utah.

Substitution failed

The Bishop of Quincy moved to substitute the following as the third paragraph of the original Resolution:

We re-affirm the traditional teaching of the Church on marital fidelity and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality. Candidates for ordination are expected to conform to this standard, and it is not appropriate to ordain anyone who does not seek so to conform.

The motion was seconded by Bishop Powell.

Substitution failed

The Bishop of North Carolina moved the previous question.

The motion was seconded by Bishop Millard.

Motion carried

A motion to amend the third paragraph by deleting the last sentence failed by a vote of 83 against to 47 for.

Amendment failed

The Bishop Suffragan of Maryland moved that the word "marriage" be added to the first sentence of paragraph three between the words "on" and "marital."

The motion was seconded by Bishop Richards.

Motion carried

The Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast moved the previous question.

The motion was seconded by the Bishop of Albany.

Motion carried

The Bishop of Utah requested a roll call vote on the Resolution before the House.

Being supported in this by two other Bishops, the Presiding Bishop so ordered.

It is recorded as follows:

Affirmative

Bishop Voegeli       The Bishop of West Virginia  
Bishop Gooden (Resigned)       Bishop Gosnell  
Bishop Sherman       The Bishop of Montana  
Bishop Gibson       The Bishop of San Joaquin  
Bishop Powell       The Bishop of East Carolina  
The Bishop of Fond du Lac       The Bishop of Maryland  
The Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast       Bishop Haynsworth (Resigned)  
The Bishop of Arizona       The Bishop of the Southern Philippines  
Bishop Goddard       The Bishop of Eau Claire  
The Bishop Suffragan for the       The Bishop of Georgia  
American Congregations in Europe       The Bishop of New Hampshire  
The Bishop of North Carolina       The Bishop of Central Florida  
Bishop Thayer       The Bishop of Lexington  
The Bishop of South Carolina       The Bishop of Dallas  
The Bishop of Southeast Florida       The Bishop of South Dakota  
The Bishop of Tennessee       The Bishop of Liberia  
Bishop Persell       The Bishop of Western Massachusetts  
The Bishop of Kentucky       The Bishop of Bethlehem  
The Bishop of West Texas       The Bishop of Ecuador  
The Bishop of North Dakota       The Bishop of Alabama  
The Bishop Suffragan of Oregon       The Bishop of Haiti  
The Bishop of New Jersey       The Bishop of West Missouri  
The Bishop Suffragan of Tennessee       The Bishop of Northwest Texas  
The Bishop of Central Pennsylvania       The Bishop of Connecticut  
The Bishop of Virginia       The Bishop of Iowa  
The Executive for Education for Ministry       The Bishop of Springfield  
The Bishop of Ohio       The Bishop of Panama and the Canal Zone  
The Bishop of Easton       The Bishop of Atlanta  
The Executive for Administration       The Bishop of Idaho  
The Bishop of Arkansas       The Bishop of Northern Indiana  
The Bishop of Colorado       The Bishop Suffragan of Maryland  
The Bishop of Pittsburgh       The Bishop of Guatemala  
The Bishop of Western New York          
           
Negative          
           
The Bishop Suffragan of Virginia       The National Coordinator for the  
The Bishop of Milwaukee       House of Bishops Committee  
The Bishop of Western North Carolina       on Pastoral Development  
The Bishop of Ouincy       The Bishop of Pennsylvania  
The Bishop of Erie       Bishop Mosley  
The Bishop of Oregon       Bishop Corrigan  
The Bishop of Albany       The Bishop of Western Michigan  
The Bishop of San Diego       The Bishop Suffragan of New York  
The Bishop of Mississippi       The Bishop of Chicago  
The Bishop of Florida       Bishop Burgess  
The Bishop of Southwest Florida       The Bishop Suffragan of Oklahoma  
The Bishop Suffragan of New Jersey       The Bishop of New York  
The Bishop of Long Island       The Bishop of Northern Mexico  
The Bishop of Missouri       The Bishop of Central New York  
The Bishop of Delaware       The Bishop of California  
The Bishop of the Northern Philippines       The Bishop of Los Angeles  
The Bishop Suffragan of Dallas       The Bishop of Puerto Rico  
The Bishop of Olympia       The Bishop of Rochester  
The Bishop Suffragan of Texas       The Bishop of Hawaii  
The Bishop of Louisiana       The Bishop of Maine  
The Bishop of Southern Virginia       The Bishop of Eastern Oregon  
The Bishop Coadjutor of Arizona       The Bishop of Southern Ohio  
The Bishop of Massachusetts       The Bishop of Washington  
The Bishop Suffragan of Michigan       The Bishop of Utah  
The Bishop of Nebraska       The Bishop of Michigan  
The Bishop of Oklahoma       The Bishop of the Rio Grande  
The Bishop of Wyoming       The Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts  
The Bishop Suffragan of Atlanta       The Bishop of Nevada  
The Bishop Suffragan to the Armed Forces       The Bishop Suffragan of Chicago  
The Bishop of Northern California       The Bishop of Vermont  
The Bishop of Spokane       The Bishop of Alaska  
The Bishop Coadjutor of Southeast Florida       The Bishop of Northern Michigan  
The Bishop of Southwestern Virginia       The Bishop of Newark  
The Bishop of Colombia       The Bishop of Indianapolis  
The Bishop Suffragan of West Texas       The Bishop of Minnesota  
Bishop Gordon        

The Resolution, as passed, reads as follows:

Whereas, we are conscious of the mystery of human sexuality and how deeply personal matters related to human sexuality are, making it most difficult to arrive at comprehensive and agreed-upon statements in these matters; and

Whereas, we are aware that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church must continue to study these matters in relationship to Holy Scripture, Christian faith and tradition, and growing insights; and

Whereas, the 65th General Convention recognized "... that homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church..."; and

Whereas, all the clergy and laity of the Church are expected to render compassionate and understanding pastoral care to one another and to all persons; therefore be it

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 66th General Convention receive with gratitude and appreciation the Report and Recommendations of its Standing Commission on Human Affairs and Health with special reference to the requested study of the matter of ordination of homosexual persons; and be it further

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this General Convention recommend to Bishops, Pastors, Vestries, Commissions on Ministry and Standing Committees, the following considerations as they continue to exercise their proper canonical functions in the selection and approval of persons for ordination:

  1. There are many human conditions, some of them in the area of sexuality, which bear upon a person's suitability for ordination;
  2. Every ordinand is expected to lead a life which is "a wholesome example to all people" ( Book of Common Prayer, pp. 517, 532, 544). There should be no barrier to the ordination of qualified persons of either heterosexual or homosexual orientation whose behavior the Church considers wholesome;
  3. We re-affirm the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage, marital fidelity and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality. Candidates for ordination are expected to conform to this standard. Therefore, we believe it is not appropriate for this Church to ordain a practicing homosexual, or any person who is engaged in heterosexual relations outside of marriage.

The motion carried by a vote of 99 to 34.

Resolution adopted

(Communicated to the House of Deputies in HB Message #122.)

House of Deputies

On the eighth day, HB Message #122 on Resolution A-53 (Substitute) was referred to the Committee on Ministry.

On the ninth day, the Chairman of the Committee on Dispatch of Business presented Committee Report #22 as follows:

Your Committee moves the adoption of the following Resolution:

Resolved, That there be set at this time a Special Order of Business for the purpose of hearing and acting on the Report of Committee #16 on Ministry concerning HB Message #122 on the subject of homosexuality, under the provisions of the special rules contained in our Report #21 adopted by the House on September 17, immediately following action on the Consent Calendar this afternoon, September 18, 1979.

In the afternoon session of the ninth day, the Chairman of Dispatch of Business called Special Order #21 and re-stated the conditions for debate on the Committee on Ministry Report #5 dealing with A-53 Substitute Resolution.

The Chair recognized Deputy Birdwell (Northwest Texas) who moved to suspend the Rules to substitute a ten-minute caucus in lieu of item #7 of Special Order #21.

Motion failed

The Committee on Ministry presented its Report #6 on Resolution A-53 (Substitute) and recommended concurrence with House of Bishops Message #122 with amendment as follows:

Proposed Committee Amendment:

Delete the final sentence of the second Resolved, subparagraph 3, being the words: "Therefore, we believe it is not appropriate for this Church to ordain a practicing homosexual, or any person who is engaged in heterosexual relations outside of marriage." The Committee Chairman, Deputy Charles Winters (Tennessee) was given 20 minutes to present the Committee Report:

He commented that 41 members of the Committee deliberated on this Resolution. A majority of the Committee recommended deletion of the third paragraph of the 2nd Resolve. The House of Bishops determined to retain that paragraph, following a joint hearing, in their Message #122. Subsequently, the House Committee voted to delete the final sentence of sub-paragraph 3 of Resolve 2.

Deputy Fitter (Rochester) addressed the House on behalf of the Committee.

Discussion followed.

The Chairman of the Committee on Dispatch of Business reminded the House that, according to the Special Order, the ground rules on debate for this motion provided for 30 minutes total, each speaker limited to two minutes, alternating "pro" and "con".

Deputy Wantland (Oklahoma) moved to amend the Committee Report by restoring the last sentence to sub-paragraph 3 of the last Resolve, so as to read exactly as the Resolution was received from the House of Bishops in their Message #122.

Following debate on the amendment, the time having expired, the Chair called for the vote on the amendment.

Deputy Cummings (Southern Ohio), citing as his authority the Lay Deputations of the Dioceses of Southern Ohio, Newark and California, called for a vote by Orders on the amendment.

The Secretary arranged for a vote by Orders--(ballot #6) on the Wantland amendment.

The results of the vote by Orders (ballot #6) were announced by the Secretary.

Lay   Yes--71 No--27 Divided--13 Cast--111 Necessary--56
Clergy   Yes--60 No--39 Divided--13 Cast--112 Necessary--57

The Wantland amendment carried in both Orders

The deputations of the Dioceses of Atlanta, Idaho, Maine, San Diego, Southern Ohio, Vermont, Western Kansas and Delaware asked that they be polled, with the following results:

Clergy Deputations   Lay Deputations
             
Atlanta
Collins   Yes   Burr   No
Johnson   No   Bailey   Yes
Bartlett   No   Bowens   Yes
Atkinson   Yes   Hughes   No
Vote: Divided in both Orders.
             
Idaho
Allen   Yes   Barsness   No
Hadley   Yes   Larson   Yes
Pierce   No   Hosler   No
Noble   Yes   Cole   No
Vote: Clergy--Yes Lay--No
             
Maine
Scribner Yes        
Flag   No        
Weymouth No        
Doak   Yes        
Vote: Lay--Divided
San Diego
Jarrett   No   Bottoms   Yes
Lazenby   No   Gore   No
Lavey   No   Freeman   Yes
Thebeau   Yes   Bayne   Yes
Vote: Clergy--No Lay--Yes
             
Southern Ohio
Harvey No        
McKenzie No        
Mote   No        
Hastings Yes        
Vote: Clergy--No
             
Vermont
Smith   No   Daniel   Yes
Clayton   No   Gibson   Yes
Costin   No   Garrett   No
Brown   No   Park   No
Vote: Clergy--No Lay--Divided  
             
Western Kansas
Helmer No        
McGlynn Yes        
Mould   Yes        
Page   Yes        
Vote: Clergy--Yes
             
Delaware
Howe   Yes        
Barrett   Yes        
Edwards   No        
Peters   Yes        
Vote: Clergy--Yes

Deputy Schley (Southeast Florida) moved to suspend the rules of Special Order to end debate and vote on the Resolution as amended.

A division was called with the following results: Yes--312 No--407

Motion defeated

Deputy Kennedy (Hawaii) moved to amend the Resolution by changing the second Whereas to a Resolve.

The Chair ruled this a Substitute which would be accepted for action later.

Deputy Harris (Pennsylvania) moved to amend the second Resolve, sub-section 3 to change "not" to "no longer" [appropriate].

Deputy Hargrove (Louisiana) rose to oppose this amendment.

The previous question was called.

The House voted on the Harris amendment.

Amendment defeated

Deputy Rettger (Minnesota) moved to add a paragraph 4: "This Church affirms the dignity and worth of every human person."

Motion defeated

Deputy Ikard (Rio Grande) moved to suspend the rules and allow only 30 minutes on substitute amendments.

Motion carried

The Chair ruled that this would eliminate the 10-minute rebuttal.

Deputy Kennedy (Hawaii) moved to change the second Whereas to become the second Resolve.

Motion defeated

Deputy Green (Indianapolis) moved to substitute Resolution D-81.

Motion defeated

Deputy Benitez (Texas) moved to suspend the rules and move immediately to voting on the main motion.

Motion carried

Deputy Geyer (Connecticut) moved to postpone action on this matter.

The Chair ruled him out of order as another motion was before the House.

Deputy Fitter (Rochester) moved to table the Resolution.

Motion lost

The question was called on the main motion (Committee on Ministry Report #6 as amended by the House, which the Chair ruled had the effect of recommending concurrence with House of Bishops Message #122.)

The following deputations called for a vote by Orders:

Washington (Clerical)

Central New York (Lay)

Vermont (Clerical)

Deputy Grocer (Western Kansas) asked for a moment of silent prayer before casting of ballots.

The Secretary arranged for a vote by Orders (ballot #7).

The Secretary announced the results of the vote by Orders (ballot #7) to concur with House of Bishops Message #122.

Lay Yes--77 No--18 Divided--13 Cast--108 Necessary--55
Clergy Yes--70 No--29 Divided--11 Cast--110 Necessary--56

The deputations from California, Rio Grande, and San Diego asked that they be polled with the following results:

Clergy Deputation   Lay Deputation
             
California
Hunt   No   Adams   Yes
Moore   No   Cedarblade No
Brumbaum No   Axell   No
Edwards   No   Dillman   No
Vote: Clergy--No Lay--No
             
Rio Grande
             
Campbell   Yes   Ikard   Yes
Thompson   Yes   Holden   Yes
Haverland   Yes   Neuman   Yes
Moore   Yes   Barrett   No
Vote: Clergy--Yes Lay--Yes
             
San Diego
Garrett   No   Bottoms   Yes
Lazenby   No   Goss   Yes
Lavey   No   Freeman   Yes
Thebeau   Yes   Payne   Yes
Vote: Clergy--No Lay--Yes

The House concurred

(Communicated to the House of Bishops in HD Message #161)

Report Reference:   Journal, 1979, p. AA-121f.
Abstract:   The 66th General Convention receives with gratitude the requested study of ordination of homosexual persons. It recommends a three-part statement concerning ordination and sexuality.