The Acts of Convention

Year   
         

Resolution Number: 2003-C051
Title: Consider Blessing Committed, Same-Gender Relationships
Legislative Action Taken: Concurred as Substituted and Amended
Final Text:

Resolved, That the 74th General Convention affirm the following:

  1. That our life together as a community of faith is grounded in the saving work of Jesus Christ and expressed in the principles of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral: Holy Scripture, the historic Creeds of the Church, the two dominical Sacraments, and the Historic Episcopate.
  2. That we reaffirm Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention (1976) 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."
  3. That, in our understanding of homosexual persons, differences exist among us about how best to care pastorally for those who intend to live in monogamous, non-celibate unions; and what is, or should be, required, permitted, or prohibited by the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church concerning the blessing of the same.
  4. That we reaffirm Resolution D039 of the 73rd General Convention (2000), that "We expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God," and that such relationships exist throughout the church.
  5. That we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.
  6. That we commit ourselves, and call our church, in the spirit of Resolution A104 of the 70th General Convention (1991), to continued prayer, study, and discernment on the pastoral care for gay and lesbian persons, to include the compilation and development by a special commission organized and appointed by the Presiding Bishop, of resources to facilitate as wide a conversation of discernment as possible throughout the church.
  7. That our baptism into Jesus Christ is inseparable from our communion with one another, and we commit ourselves to that communion despite our diversity of opinion and, among dioceses, a diversity of pastoral practice with the gay men and lesbians among us.
  8. That it is a matter of faith that our Lord longs for our unity as his disciples, and for us this entails living within the boundaries of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. We believe this discipline expresses faithfulness to our polity and that it will facilitate the conversation we seek, not only in The Episcopal Church, but also in the wider Anglican Communion and beyond.
Citation: General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of...The Episcopal Church, Minneapolis, 2003 (New York: General Convention, 2004), p. 615f.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Author: Diocese of Michigan
Originating House: House of Bishops
Originating Committee: Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music

House of Bishops

The House of Bishops Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music presented its Report #25 on Resolution C051 (Blessing of Committed Same-Gender Relationships) and moved adoption of a substitute.

Original Text of Resolution:

(C051)

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 74th General Convention approve the liturgical blessing of the committed relationship of two adults of the same-gender and authorize the inclusion of a text of such blessing in "The Book of Occasional Services."

Committee Substitute:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 74th General Convention affirm the following:

  1. That our life together as a community of faith is grounded in the saving work of Jesus Christ and expressed in the principles of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral: Holy Scripture, the historic Creeds of the Church, the two dominical sacraments, and the historic episcopate.
  2. That we reaffirm Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention (1976) 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."
  3. That, in our understanding of homosexual persons, differences exist among us about how best to care pastorally for those who intend to live in monogamous, non-celibate unions; and what is, or should be, required, permitted, or prohibited by the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church concerning the blessing of the same.
  4. That we reaffirm Resolution D039 of the 73rd General Convention (2000), that "We expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection, and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God," and that such relationships exist throughout the church.
  5. That, in keeping with the Pastoral Letter from the Primates of the Anglican Communion (5/27/2003) "acknowledging the responsibility of Christian leaders to attend to the pastoral needs of minorities in their care;" we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.
  6. That we commit ourselves, and call our church, in the spirit of Resolution A104 of the 70th General Convention (1991), to continued prayer, study, and discernment, to include:
    1. The preparation by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, for study and consideration by the 75th General Convention, rites for possible inclusion in Enriching Our Worship by means of which support and blessing may be expressed for same-sex relationships with the permission of the ecclesiastical authority.
    2. The compilation and development of resources to facilitate as wide a conversation of discernment as possible throughout the church.
  7. That our baptism into Jesus Christ is inseparable from our communion with one another, and we commit ourselves to that communion despite our diversity of opinion and, among dioceses, a diversity of pastoral practice with homosexual persons.
  8. That it is a matter of faith that our Lord longs for our unity as his disciples, and for us this entails living within the boundaries of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. We believe this discipline expresses faithfulness to our polity and that it will facilitate the conversation we seek, not only in The Episcopal Church, but also in the wider Anglican Communion and beyond.

The Bishop of Virginia moved to amend the substitute resolution.

Proposed Amendment:

Delete all the words in section (a) of paragraph 6 and delete the letter (b) so that the text of paragraph 6 reads "That we commit ourselves, and call our church, in the spirit of Resolution A104 of the 70th General Convention (1991) to continued prayer, study, and discernment, to include the compilation and development of resources to facilitate as wide a conversation of discernment as possible throughout the church."

The Bishop Suffragan of Maryland made a friendly amendment to the Bishop of Virginia's amendment.

Proposed Amendment:

Insert "on the pastoral care for gay and lesbian persons" after the words "study and discernment" in paragraph six.

Motion carried

Amendment adopted

The Committee agreed to amend their report at the suggestion of the Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri by deleting "homosexual persons" and adding "the gay men and lesbians among us."

The Bishop of Pennsylvania moved to amend the substitute resolution.

Proposed Amendment:

In paragraph six, insert "by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music" before "of resources".

Motion carried

Amendment adopted

The Bishop of Pennsylvania moved to amend the previous amendment.

Proposed Amendment:

Delete the previous amendment to paragraph six, "by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music" and insert "by a special commission organized and appointed by the Presiding Bishop".

Motion carried

Amendment adopted

The Presiding Bishop moved to amend the substitute resolution.

Proposed Amendment:

Delete in paragraph 5, "in keeping with the Pastoral Letter from the Primates of the Anglican Communion (5/27/2003) "acknowledging the responsibility of Christian leaders to attend to the pastoral needs of minorities in their care;".

Motion carried

Amendment adopted

The Bishop of Tennessee moved to substitute Resolution B007 for Resolution C051.

Proposed Amendment

The Bishop Suffragan of Alabama moved to amend B007 to insert paragraph 6 from Resolution C051 as amended to this resolution as point 6, "That we commit ourselves, and call on church, in the spirit of Resolution (A104) of the 70th General Convention (1991), to continued prayer, study, and discernment to include the compilation and development of resources to facilitate as wide a conversation as possible throughout the church" and after point 5, add the words, "under direction of Presiding Bishop".

The Bishop of Tennessee accepted the Bishop Suffragan of Alabama's amendment to Resolution B007 in his motion to substitute Resolution B007 for Resolution C051.

A vote was taken to substitute Resolution B007 as amended for Resolution C051.

Motion defeated

Substitute defeated

A vote was taken on Resolution C051 as amended.

Motion carried

Substitute resolution adopted with amendment

(Communicated to the House of Deputies in HB Message #183)

House of Deputies

The Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music presented its Report #22 on HB Message #183 on Resolution C051 (Blessing of Committed Same-Gender Relationships) and moved concurrence.

Deputy Downie of Eastern Michigan moved to terminate debate.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

Deputy Cavanagh of San Joaquin, on behalf the clerical deputation of Florida, the lay and clerical deputations of San Joaquin, and the clerical deputation Central Florida asked for a vote by orders. The President ruled that request in order.

Ballot #3 was taken on Resolution C051.

Ballot #3 taken by orders

The Secretary read the results of Ballot #3 on Resolution C051.

TypeTotalNecessaryYesNoDividedResults
Lay 108 55 58 38 12Carried
Clergy10855623412Carried

The House concurred

(Communicated to the House of Bishops in HD Message #226)

Resolution Concurred by Both Houses, August 7.

Abstract:   The 74th General Convention discusses the blessing of committed, same-gender relationships.
Notes:  

Journal Editor's Note: "For the Minority Report distributed in the House of Bishops regarding Resolution C051, see House of Bishops Day 8, Appendix K." See Journal of General Convention 2003, p. 244f.

The presentation of resolution C051 was accompanied by a Special Order of Business regarding the conduct of the debate. Amendments were made to the Special Order. The full text of the Special Order can be found on pages 607-608 of the Journal of General Convention 2003.