MORE UPDATES: Statement from Bishop Jeff Lee, Diocese of Chicago:
Because both church and state claim authority over the institution of marriage, this legal victory takes on theological dimensions. As I have written before, I believe that marriage is a sacred vocation. The union of two persons in heart, body and mind is a school of holiness, a way of ordering our lives so that we might learn to be more faithful servants of Christ. I also believe that the faithful, loving, and lifelong union of two persons–of the same sex or of opposite sexes–is capable of signifying the never failing love of God in Christ for the church and the world. Such unions can be sources and signs of grace, both for the couple and for the wider community. And I believe that we need all of the sources and signs of grace that we can get.
Here in the Diocese of Chicago, once marriage equality takes effect in June 2014, clergy will be permitted, but not required, to witness same-sex marriages in the State of Illinois and to officiate at the blessing of these holy unions using “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing,” the liturgical rite approved by General Convention in 2012.
UPDATE: Seminary President hails new Illinois law:
EPISCOPAL SEMINARY PRESIDENT CHEERS PASSAGE OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY LAW
“Something is right in the eyes of the state that has always been right in the eyes of God.”
CHICAGO, November 5, 2013–The Rev. Dr. Roger A. Ferlo, president of the Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation, welcomed the arrival of marriage equality in Illinois:
“I am delighted that Illinois has joined 14 other states in endorsing marriage equality. Years ago, as a parish priest in Greenwich Village, I was inspired by the example of gay and lesbian couples who kept their relationships alive despite intense social disapproval. They were an example to me and to others in the congregation that what matters to God is not the sexual orientation of the partners, but their honesty, integrity and lifelong fidelity. Now something is right in the eyes of the state that has always been right in the eyes of God.”
The Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation forms an Episcopal educational center in the Midwest that offers a new model for sustaining rigorous theological education. Our flexible academic programs, rooted in ecumenical partnerships, offer fresh options for clergy and laypeople who are preparing for ministry in a changing church. Learn more at www.bexleyseabury.edu
UPDATE: Senate passes House version, bill heads to governor to sign #IL4M
Thomas Ely ?@BishopVT10 1m
758,992 members of The Episcopal Church will live in states w/#MarriageEquality when Illinois becomes #15. That is 39.5% of our membership
— freedomtomarry (@freedomtomarry) November 5, 2013
The bill goes back to the Senate for final approval of the one amendment in the House version. Governor is already on record as ready to sign.
Story from GLAAD here.
More details to come.